Smithsonian has launched a new podcast called Sidedoor that takes listeners behind the scenes at the museums. The first episode, called Tech Yourself, looks at technology. And to be honest, the episode takes a while to get interesting. But it’s definitely worth a listen.
The first quarter of the first episode is comprised mostly of boring observations about our relationship with tech. Frankly, they’re about as profound as the kind of thing that you’d hear on local TV news. But when the hosts finally take us inside the museums of the Smithsonian (presumably through the sidedoor, get it?) and talk to some experts, listeners finally get what they came for.
For instance, once the hosts talk to Carlene Stephens, a curator who researches the concept of time at the Museum of Natural history, the show gets really good. The second episode gets into the interesting bits right away by taking us behind the scenes at the US National Postal Museum and talking with Frank Winter, an expert who describes experiments in the 1950s with rocket mail.
You can listen to the first two episodes at the links below and see what’s on the schedule for the next few months.
- Tech Yourself, October 26th
- Special Delivery, October 26th
- Confronting the Past, November 9th
- Masters of Disguise, November 23rd
- Butting Heads, December 7th
- Gaming the System, December 21st
- You Do You, January 4th
- Shake It Up, January 18th
The Smithsonian podcast has a few kinks, but it’s a really solid start. Don’t let the opening of the first episode turn you off from the thing entirely. It has incredible potential, as you can hear in the interviews with Carlene Stephens and Frank Winter.