The SHA team takes a lead role in managing all aspects of sound quality and control throughout a museum to deliver the optimum aural experience for both visitors and staff. This includes the acoustic and audio delivery design and calibration of both base building and exhibit spaces.

  • Preparing the acoustic environment – controlling excessive reverberation and echoes with acoustic treatments, preventing unwanted sounds from other spaces in the building or outside from intruding upon the gallery, and establishing appropriate background noise levels from HVAC and other building systems.
  • Defining audio delivery strategies for all programs – choosing loudspeaker types, quantities, locations, and mounting methods to deliver the most intelligible and immersive experience, while controlling sound bleed to adjacent exhibits when necessary.
  • Working with media producers to optimize the actual audio content for the environment in which it will be delivered.

Our work on the base building of a museum addresses all aspects that are designed by the Architectural and Engineering Team and built by the General Contracting Team. We engineer solutions for spatial sound quality, sound containment and control of noise/vibration. Our work on exhibits focuses on those elements designed by the Exhibit/Experiential Designer and installed by the Exhibit Fabrication and Media Teams. In this case, the solutions are targeted toward acoustic control and containment within the exhibition structures themselves.


Our success in these areas is based on a combination of an unbridled passion for achieving high quality and control of sound, technical creativity, and an understanding of how museums function and how visitors interact within them. We also have developed successful processes of working with, not just architects and exhibit designers, but also media producers, systems integrators and exhibit fabricators to ensure a coordinated, functional end result.

exhibit acoustics

audio delivery

‘Audio Delivery’ is a subset of the overall audio system functionality that most affects the final sound quality experienced by visitors in an acoustic space. In terms of hardware, the audio delivery strategies include the type, quantity, location and mounting of loudspeakers (and other related devices) as well as the inclusion of digital signal processing (DSP) to be able to tonally shape and balance each loudspeaker and individual system.

The reason goes back to the three key elements of sound management – acoustic control, audio delivery and media optimization. While the AV integrator is thinking about the audio, video & controls from a system perspective, SHA brings an added value of developing solutions for sound quality and control with a common mindset of all three aspects. 

The vast majority of our museum projects include an AV integrator (in a design-build role) partnered with SHA. Our Principal, Steve Haas, has worked repeatedly with many of the top AV integrators who are involved in museums and has created a recipe for working with them that brings the collective expertise together with no redundancy in the scope of service.

Actually, no. In addition to remaining involved in the Construction/Installation phase to ensure that any changing field conditions that may impact the audio installation is reviewed and addressed, one of our other key aspects happens at the end of the project – audio tuning and calibration. Our experience shaping and balancing multiple audio programs (sometimes as many as 40-50 unique programs in a single gallery!) throughout a museum exhibition is the final step in the process that leads to optimized sound quality and control. 

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