The Museum of Portable Sound and our Special Collections Exhibitions.

Have you seen our latest exhibition Sounds Beyond Music: Selected Objects from the Museum of Portable Sound on the Mezzanine of Portsmouth University Library? Pop up to see the exhibition which runs until 31st January 2024. While you are there have a look at our items which are also on display from the University of Portsmouth Special Collections. We have found some great resources to complement the exhibition.

  • Habitat from 1971 (2nd Ed) showing an interior scene with turntable and stylish living room.
  • The Cyclopaedia of Useful Arts (1854) – John from the Museum of Portable Sound notes:

         …The text on the page following the image plate is wonderful: “…and for the last, a noisy signal or alarm, the steam-whistle z, consisting of   two hemispheres or bells, mouth to mouth, and a flat disc between and nearly touching both, has been found effective.” It’s so absolutely typical that not only would the whistle on a steam engine be labelled “z”, but that it’s considered such an afterthought when, in fact, it’s the one part of the engine (other than the brake) which is most important for saving lives.

  • Atlas magazine no 4 from 1993 – with a fantastic CD of urban sounds.
  • The Fred 1987 and 1989 described by the Tate Library as ‘English wit and Humour’ – Note the fantastic image of John Lydon created by James Faulkner in pre Apple Mac days.  For a great interview on how this design came to be, see the interview with Faulkner here.

Rare books are for reference only and may only be consulted at our Library Use Only desk during hours when Library staff are available.  Please refer to the Reception Desk opening hours.  To guarantee that a space is available for you, you are advised to book in advance of your visit; please email However, if you discover an item you wish to consult whilst visiting the library, provided no one else has booked the space, we will do our best to accommodate you.

One comment on “The Museum of Portable Sound and our Special Collections Exhibitions.
  1. What an eclectic range of things we have in our special collections! It was interesting to read about the design of PiL’s album cover and to see how far graphic design tools have progressed since 1989. Thank you.

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