By Tonya Clanton
Michelle Moog-Koussa, Executive Director of The Bob Moog Foundation and daughter of Bob Moog, was recently on “Closer to the Edge” to talk about the upcoming opening of the Moogseum in downtown Asheville. The new museum will further the foundation’s mission to “ignite creativity at the intersection of music, science, history and innovation” and inspire visitors through extensive archives, educational initiatives and interactive exhibits.
Bob Moog was a musical engineer and pioneer of electronic music, inventing the Moog synthesizer in 1964 and influencing the development of modern music. His last 25 years were spent living in Asheville. Moog-Koussa said the idea of a museum has been around for a while. In fact, a mini-moogseum has been on display at the Orange Peel since 2009.
The new Moogseum will have 1,400 square feet of gallery space and will be an experiential facility where people will be able to understand the impact of Moog’s legacy in an interactive way through hands-on exhibits, a touch-screen interactive timeline, and an archival center showcasing rare photos, project notes, and articles from his collection.
The museum will contain a timeline of Bob Moog’s life, as well as a history of sound synthesis, which is the technique of generating sound from electronic hardware or software. Visitors will be able to access over 1,000 pieces of archival material through touch-screen kiosks. The museum will also have an immersive video dome that will teach people how electricity turns into sound when it travels through a circuit board. The information will be presented in a simple way that lets people control different components of the circuit, and in fact, be what the museum calls, “part of the circuit.”
The museum will also have a theremin that people can play. It was invented in 1920 by Leon Theremin but developed further by Bob Moog, who started building his own at the age of 15, in 1949, and had a side business selling his homemade versions in the 1950s while in college. He collaborated with Herb Deutsch to develop the first Moog prototype in 1964 and later built the first Moog synthesizer for commercial use. Various models of the Moog have been created over the years and used by countless bands and artists world-wide.
The independent, non-profit Bob Moog Foundation is a separate entity from Moog Music and the Moog Factory, also located in downtown Asheville. Other activities of the foundation include Dr. Bob’s SoundSchool, a 10-week curriculum that teaches teachers–who in turn teach students–the physics of sound using acoustic and electronic musical instruments, including the theremin, as well as technological tools, such as oscilloscopes.
For more information about the Moogseum, the Foundation and Dr. Bob’s SoundSchool, visit www.moogfoundation.org. The museum and foundation are located at 56 Broadway Street in Asheville. Listen to the full interview with Michelle Moog-Koussa here: