I've been fortunate to work with clients who are willing to take chances and try a new approach. Two examples are the Poetry Foundation and the Chicago History Museum.

In 2009 the Chicago History Museum had an exhibit concerning Abraham Lincoln and his evolving attitude toward slavery. Instead of a conventional audio tour with directions telling the visitor what to look at and what to think about, my job was to make a non-narrated soundscape that would serve as an emotional foundation for the visitor, making the experience more vivid and memorable. The tour was awarded the Gold medal by the American Association of Museums for best audio tour. Here are two excerpts.

"Lincoln & Slavery" (This sounds best on headphones.)

The opening exhibit showed an American flag ripped apart by a photo of a slave auction. An excerpt from the Declaration of Independence was contrasted with a statement made by Lincoln during his campaign for Senator, in which he stated that although he was opposed to slavery, he was willing to allow it in the South if that was the price of preserving the Union. The rest of the gallery contained horrific photos and artifacts of slave auctions, chains, shackles, posters advertising rewards for escaped slaves, and other horrendous reminders of this shameful period in American history.

" Assassination and Legacy" (This sounds best on headphones.)

This excerpt is from the final exhibit which dealt with Lincoln's assassination, beginning with his last speech in which he declared that blacks should have the right to vote; the conspiracy of southern sympathizers who had been plotting to kidnap Lincoln, but then decided to kill him; the assassination at Ford's Theater; and finally Lincoln's legacy.

The Chicago Poetry Tour - written and produced by Ed Herrmann.

The Poetry Foundation had a grand vision: create an audio tour of Chicago based on poetry from and about the city. The result is the Chicago Poetry Tour - three hours of interviews and readings by Chicago poets, each linked to a particular location in the city.

It's all available for free from the Poetry Foundation. Listen online while watching a slide show with images and texts from the poems, or download and listen at home. Better yet go to the various locations around Chicago as you listen. An amazing collection of poetry and insights from multiple generatons of great Chicago writers.