The Implementation of Scent in Museums

Since the announcement of our product, we have received substantial interest in the ScentScape from museums across the world.  We are so thrilled to receive such a strong interest from curators worldwide!  In our recent conversations we’ve learned that curators believe that scent will strengthen the bridge between the viewer and the exhibit in a meaningful way.

The connection between scent and museums is not new.  Historically, the Odorama exhibit at the Pompidou
Center, the Aquivit exhibit at the Wine and Spirits museum, and exhibits at the Jorvik Viking Museum are well know examples of how scent can be used to enhance exhibits.  However, a wider application of scent has eluded museums.  Because of the ScentScape’s capability to disperse multiple scents in a small space, we have been able to spark the interest of museums to deliver scent on a personal level in exhibits.
Because our olfactory sense links so quickly to memory, both researchers and artists can benefit from using smell in exhibits. From the artist’s perspective, scent can be used to make a piece more complex or more clear.  For example, I wonder how Damien Hirst‘s “Mother and Child, Divided” would change if scent were added to the piece.  The idea of adding scent to this piece brings to mind a plethora of questions.  What scent would the artist choose?  Would it smell like formaldehyde?  Or would the artist want the viewer to smell cow?  Or perhaps the scent would be something more significant, something that depicts the meaning Hirst was trying to convey in t
he installation.  What would death smell like?
The implementation of scent in historical exhibits would be extremely powerful for the viewers experiences.  By adding scent to these exhibits, curators would be able to provide the viewer a richer glimpse into the lives or our ancestors. For example, could a researcher develop scents to coincide with the Tutankhamun exhibit?  What would Egyptian cities smell like 3,000 years ago?  Would there be scents of coconut oil, goats, and cattle?  How would the Pharaoh’s palaces smell differently?   Adding scent into the museums will allow artists and curators to deepen the viewers experience and make art an interactive experience.
What about you?  What exhibits would be more powerful if they were scent enabled?
Do you work for a museum?  I’d be happy to answer any questions you have regarding implementing the ScentScape into your future exhibits!
We can’t wait to hear from you!
For more information on Damien Hirst, please visit his website.
For more information on the Tutankhamun exhibit, please visit their website.
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2 thoughts on “The Implementation of Scent in Museums

  1. Good. That should provide some ‘high-culture’ pull on further development.

    I’ve been watching this eagerly for quite a while, and I’ve noticed that nearly all the commenters in various forums see ScentScape as a way to make zombie and vampire smells. Some of them want to create zombie and vampire smells, while others dislike the whole idea because they can only imagine it making zombie and vampire smells.

    I’m completely puzzled by this olfactory tunnel vision … you’d think more people would be looking forward to making and using pleasant smells!

    • Hi Polistra,
      There are so many uses for the ScentScape and it can be adapted for many uses. Bill Wiles, CEO of Scent Sciences, always says, “It’s only limited by the users imagination.” I can’t agree with him more!! And this is always what makes me excited about the product; how versatile it is!

      Personally, I am particularly interested in it’s intersection with art and education. I will be posting further ideas for implementation on future blogs and I would love to have your feedback.

      Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!

      Best,
      Heather Norton

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