Above: Established in 1828, Raymond, Mississippi, is located about a dozen kilometers west of Jackson, the state capital. Raymond is primarily rural in nature, but has also served as a busy center of trade situated along the historic Natchez Trace.

When you are asked to describe where you live, what do you say? Do you describe homes, shops, and businesses? Do you describe the people who live or work there? Maybe you describe landscape. All of these things help to define your sense of place, or what makes a certain place have its own distinctive character. One distinctive characteristic that helps to create a sense of place is sound. Every place has sounds that you might not notice, but those sounds help create a sense of place.

The students whose voices you’ll hear in these audio recordings collected sounds that defined their zip code's sense of place. Because sounds within a particular zip code change as its community does, these recordings serve as an acoustic archive of that place. These audio time capsules have also been preserved in the Library of Congress for future generations to experience.

For each zip code in NatGeo Education’s sense of place collection, you'll find three types of sounds:

  • Most Distinctive: This is the sound that best represents a place. For example, at the beach this might be the sound of waves crashing.
  • Humans and Environment Interacting: These sounds demonstrate how people who live in that place interact with it. In the beach example, this might be the sound of kids shouting as the waves lap at their feet, or the sound of a motorboat zipping through the water.
  • Symbolic of Change: These sounds give clues about how a place is changing. In the beach example, the sound of heavy construction behind the dunes might indicate the development of new hotels or shopping centers.


  • Raymond is one of the stops on the Natchez Trace Parkway. The Natchez Trace is as old as human history in North America, as indigenous people followed the migration routes of big game from the salt licks of Tennessee to the grazing lands of the Mississippi River Valley.
  • Raymond is one of two county seats in Hinds County. The other county seat is Jackson, which is also the state capital of Mississippi.
  • The Battle of Raymond was a conflict between vastly outnumbered Confederate troops and Union cavalry in 1863. The Battle of Raymond, a Union victory, had more than a thousand casualties.