Next stop: the smell of plague

Reading the recent Total Experience post, Studio 360: “Scratch and Sniff,” The Mystery of Smell, I was reminded why I love museum exhibit designers:

How can we design compelling experiences to exploit people’s sense of smell? Displays of perfumery and taste enhancers are common. A more thrilling, if somewhat bizarre example, has been the application of modern chemical science to recreate the smells of London during successive historic periods, for a timeline walk-through at the Museum of London. Most challenging of all? Creating the smell of the rotting dead during the 13th Century calamity of the Black Death (recalling Monty Python’s classic line, aBring out your dead! Bring out yer dead!a). A laboratory commissioned to develop these smells reportedly was all too successful: the display is a repellent success.

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