The Science and Industry Museum needs your Walkman for Power of Music Exhibition

Photo by Florian Schmetz

The Science and Industry Museum in Manchester is calling for the public to donate their old musical playback devices and accompanying memories to help create part of its world premiere exhibition, Turn It Up: The Power of Music.

As well as looking to the future of music making, this hands-on exhibition will feature playback technologies of the past to uncover more about the role of music in our lives. As part of this, curators are asking the public to dust off their disc players, unearth their ipods and resurrect their radios to help tell the story of how music drives us to create, perform and feel. They’re looking for musical playback devices from the 1960s onwards, especially if there is a personal/shared story or memory connected to it – with submissions needed by Friday 5 August 2022.

From turntables and cassette players to iPods, bluetooth speakers and everything in between, the borrowed items will sit alongside objects from the Science Museum Group’s permanent collection including 19th and 20th century phonographs, gramophones and early radios – showing that while the technology may have changed along the way, our connections with music have not.

Turn It Up will explore the science of music’s mysterious hold over us and how it drives us to create, perform, feel and share. It will open at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester on 21 October as the Manchester Science Festival headline exhibition, before going on a UK and international tour over the next five years.

Curator of Exhibitions at the Science and Industry Museum, Steven Leech explains: “Music plays an important role in our everyday lives and is a highly personal experience, which is why we want to capture the many different ways that people enjoy it and the memories they associate with these devices.

“From road trips and big family celebrations to lost loves, music can instantly trigger memories or take us back to moments from our past. These musical moments might have happened while streaming songs to your earbuds, making mixtapes for your friends, blasting out tunes from a boombox or gathering around the wireless. That’s why we are asking for anyone who has such a memory, still has the device they were using and would like to play an important role in this exciting new exhibition, to please get in touch.”

Visitors to the exhibition will discover the science behind music and what the future holds for melody making through specially commissioned interactive and immersive art installations, personal stories, musical tracks, dance, never-before-seen musical inventions, first-hand accounts from famous musicians, artwork, cutting-edge research and unique instruments.

From why certain music can make us feel different emotions and how it might manipulate what we buy, to how it can even be used boost health and wellbeing and to improve sleep – Turn It Up: The power of music shows just how profoundly music can affect our lives with or without us knowing. The exhibition also shows how scientists, innovators and musicians are using technological advancements to push the limits of music making and ensure playing music is more accessible for everyone.

To find out more about the project and to submit a device visit by Friday 5 August 2022. You can also contact the team with any questions at

Tickets for the Turn It Up: The power of music exhibition cost £8 adult, £6 child/concession and family discounts are available. Advance tickets can be purchased now through the museum’s website ( or by calling 033 0058 0058.