Odeuropa’s Olfactory Storytelling Toolkit

Odeuropa is a European research project which bundles expertise in sensory mining and olfactory heritage. We develop novel methods to collect information about smell from (digital) text and image collections.

Our goal is to show that critically engaging our sense of smell and our scent heritage is an important and a viable means for connecting and promoting Europe’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage.

Scent in the museum. For a long time, this phrase would have raised red flags for conservators, curators, archivists and visitors of heritage spaces – and in many cases it still does. Scents? Where? Surely not in the galleries or in the depot?! Do they indicate undesirable moulds in books or other objects? Are odours spilling from the restroom or the museum café? Do these scents suggest the presence of airborne dangers that might affect the artefacts? Recognised as a hazard or simply lurking in the background, visitors and heritage professionals alike are not accustomed to actively paying attention to smells in cultural heritage institutions. Scents are assumed to be incidental, unintentional, and unwanted.

Odeuropa’s Olfactory Storytelling Toolkit: A ‘How-To’ Guide for Working with Smells in GLAMs and Heritage Institutions is created for conservators, curators, educators, tour guides, museum directors, archivists, librarians, and all others who are interested to work with smells in a heritage context. This guide is a resource that provides a basis to use smell as a storytelling technique within your own curatorial practice. It provides methods – from beginning to end – to bring an olfactory narrative from the (physical) collection item towards visitor engagement. We not only present tips for building a strong olfactory narrative (and where to start finding those stories) but also outline practical elements of olfactory storytelling such as sniffing out olfactory objects and spaces with smellwalks and a sniffer in residence, best practices for presenting and distributing scents in the museum space, creating (heritage) scents with a scent designer and how to carry out your own risk assessment in GLAM environments. Retrouvez Annick Le Guérer page 204-  READ MORE