Library of Congress Adds Item in miSci's Collection to National Recording Registry
Thomas Edison's "St. Louis Tinfoil" (1878) Recording Selected for Preservation for its Historic and Cultural Significance
Schenectady, NY (March 24, 2021) – The Museum of Innovation and Science (miSci) announced today that its Edison "St. Louis Tinfoil" (1878) is among 25 recordings inducted into the National Recording Registry. Each year, under the terms of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, the Librarian of Congress, with advice from the National Recording Preservation Board, selects 25 titles for preservation that are culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant. This year's selections were made from among approximately 900 public nominations.
"We are thrilled to have this incredible item in our collection selected by the Library of Congress for this distinction" said miSci President Gina C. Gould. "Our Museum houses a number of world firsts related to Thomas Edison and the history of innovation that took place right here in Schenectady. This honor reminds us of the importance of preserving this amazing history for generations to come."
Thomas Edison’s tinfoil recording is quite possibly a record of the oldest playable recording of an American voice and the earliest surviving document that captures a musical performance. The recording is on a piece of tinfoil. It lasts 78 seconds and was made on a phonograph in St. Louis, Missouri, on June 22, 1878, just months after Edison invented his magic recording machine.
In the summer of 2013, the Museum of Innovation and Science announced that physicists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory had recovered the sound from this slip of shiny silver. The result was a surprisingly listenable musical and vocal interlude.
Featuring dynamic and engaging exhibitions, standards-based educational programming and a variety of special events, miSci offers hands-on exploration while fostering an understanding and appreciation of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics). With more than 80,000 visitors annually, it provides an immersive experience for patrons. All exhibitions, programs, and events align with miSci’s mission – to celebrate science and technology – past, present, and future.
*Images for press use are available upon request.
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