Case Study: Building Silently: Acoustics Design at Smithsonian’s NMAAHC

Facilities Management
Start Day and Time
Tuesday May 9 1:30-2 p.m.
Venue and Meeting Room
266 America's Center
This case study will walk through the impact that acoustics had on the newest Smithsonian museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Opened in the fall of 2016, NMAAHC had a number of spaces that required acoustical attention above and beyond the typical museum. This case study will lay out specific examples of NMAAHC's acoustical design, the challenges that arose throughout the design process, and key takeaways that will help others designing a new museum or renovating an existing space.
Learner Outcome
  1. Learn about the importance of acoustics and how they affect museums of all shapes and sizes. Specifically, walk through areas that museums should focus on and learn why.
  2. Learn the challenges that arise when designing a museum in terms of acoustics and achieving proper noise/sound levels.
  3. Discover lessons learned and things to plan for when designing a museum or exhibit in the future.
Julie Fischer
Associate Principal
Mrs. Fischer has been with Shen Milsom & Wilke since graduating from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and has provided acoustical consulting on a wide range of design projects. Because of her extensive experience with museums, she is able to understand interactions between exhibits and surrounding spaces, acoustical separation between various spaces, proper acoustical finishes and appropriate background noise levels for museum's complex needs.