In Mark Smith's article in the public historian he argues for the importance of using sensory history-and particuarly the history of sound-to deepen our understandings of life in particular time periods. Smith makes clear that while sensory history is very theoretically driven, it very much involves developing a close understanding of the lived experience of people. Smith's work builds on Thompson's, but makes it much more accessible to a public audience. However, Smith's engagement with public history leaves much to be desired. While he wrote a fairly accessible essay addressing the deepening of knowledge that sensory history can bring, he only spent one paragraph delving into its importance and connection for the public. I think this is a huge missed oppurtunity. While I enjoyed Emily Thompson's work, it is in no way accessible to the public yet sensory history is an under explored method for engaging public audiences with the experiences of the past. However, Smith relies on historiography to prove the importance of his argument and then makes a passing reference to the role it could play for the public. the history of sound could be used to great effect on museum exhibits and in other public realms and a deeper exploration of actual instances in which it could have been made stronger are important. 1. What can we learn from the study of sensory history?

2. does sensory history make good public history?

3. How could it be interpreted?

4. is sensory history material culture? What is the materiality of sound.

 

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