Imagine strolling through a museum and looking at the exhibits. It’s fascinating to see into the past, envisioning another time and place. And now, more than just presenting artifacts, museums are creating more participatory experiences by incorporating multisensory effects, with sounds and even smells to immerse visitors in a more realistic and complete experience. SensoryCo provides custom smells and scent systems to create sensory effects in a museum setting.
Smells added to an exhibit create a more comprehensive experience. Whether it’s the smell of fresh-baked bread wafting from a display of a 50s kitchen, an earthy, musky smell accompanying a jungle exhibit, or a range of others, the scents may spark memories, create a feeling of comfort or uneasiness and generate questions and conversations.
SensoryCo has worked with a variety of museums to create a range of smells for different types of exhibits. At a historical site that was once a working plantation, smell generators are being tested to diffuse aromas from the kitchen area, wine cellar and even living quarters. This is a safe way to create the scents of the times, without actually cooking or other more difficult enterprises. Yet it adds significantly to the total sensory experience. Visitors are immersed in the sights, sounds and now smells, creating an environment where they can truly imagine what it felt like to be there.
Other museums have tapped into the power of scent and memory. Many studies show how intricately scents are tied to memories and museums are using this phenomenon to take exhibits to the next level. SensoryCo partnered with the Newseum in Washington, D.C. for part of an exhibit called The Boomer List. Included is a variety of baby boomer paraphernalia, but it also uses scents to help generate some predominant memories and symbols of the time. “Fresh cut grass” is reminiscent of the prolific moves to the suburbs and “incense” sparks images of freedom and non-conformity.
In a 1950s exhibition at the Ohio Historical Society, scents have been used in full-scale displays to recreate common scenes of the decade. That comforting smell of fresh-baked bread permeates through the room, reminiscent of another time. For older visitors, the aromas may spark memories while younger visitors can get a full sensory interpretation.
While visitors to various attractions continue to expect more, adding sensory effects in a museum setting truly provides a more comprehensive experience. Research continues to reinforce the power of scent, from sparking memories, creating mood and even improving learning, all of which are benefits to a museum experience. SensoryCo continues to be on the cutting edge of scent technology, working closely with museums, historical and educational facilities to create custom smells to provide unique and compelling exhibits.