For the voice of President Cleveland, Bloom—who sound designs several shows for WNYC—pulled a recording of Cleveland from the WNYC archives. Voice actor Bill Lobley used that to study Cleveland’s inflections and speech patterns, and then imitated those in his performance of Cleveland’s Statue dedication speech.
“Opening Ceremony” even includes marching band music. Bloom and Belantara researched the marching bands that participated in the event and their musical repertoires. “I’m very confident that the songs in the soundscape are ones that were performed during the actual event,” Bloom says.
“Using a combination of historical sources, we were able to make a script to follow for the dedication ceremony,” he adds. “It’s like a forensic reconstruction of this event. Even though there weren’t sound recordings of it, the soundscape gives a clear picture of what it was like to be there on that day.”
The third soundscape, “Welcoming Immigrants,” is a montage of interviews created from recordings captured as part of an oral history project at Ellis Island. With access to the entire audio archive, Bloom was able to select a diverse range of experiences and reactions to edit together.
There is no music or background ambience in “Welcoming Immigrants.” Since the exhibits are close together and open to each other, music from “Opening Ceremony” and the last exhibit, “Becoming Liberty,” can be faintly heard in “Welcoming Immigrants.” But that’s not a bad thing.
“All of the soundscapes are meant to be symbiotic and intertwine in a way,” says Bloom. “There are key moments when the speeches in ‘Opening Ceremony’ bleed over into ‘Welcoming Immigrants.’ For example, the cannon fire is timed so that it punctuates the interviews of ‘Welcoming Immigrants.’ And the abstract music of ‘Becoming Liberty’ is designed to be completely complementary to the marching band music in ‘Opening Ceremony.’”
In fact, some of Bloom’s evocative music for “Becoming Liberty” was derived from the marching band music in “Opening Ceremony.”
“The music overall is crafted in such a way that it doesn’t reference any musical era or specific instrumentation. It’s ambient music meant to express a timeless feeling,” explains Bloom.
A well-mixed museum environment set to the proper playback volume allows visitors to enjoy the content of the exhibits instead of being bombarded by it. “The design of the museum speaks to visitors on multiple levels, from informative to personal and interactive,” Webster concludes. “The audio has been strategically incorporated to build emotion and drama that brings Liberty’s story to life.”