Episode 131

Stimulating the senses: using smell to engage visitors

Published on: 13th June, 2024

How can we use our sense of smell to engage visitors? My guest today, Sofia Collette Ehrich is an art historian and curator of multisensory experiences. She was a key researcher on Odeuropa - a European funded Horizon 2020 project that advocated for smell as an important part of Europe’s cultural heritage.

We discuss when she first realised her passion for working with scents and how smell can make museum experiences more engaging.

We cover her creation of a scent-based tour for Museum Ulm in Germany and a 'Scratch and Sniff' self-guided tour for the Amsterdam Museum.

We also look at the Olfactory Storytelling Toolkit, 'smell walks,' and the idea of a 'sniffer in residence.' Sofia shares lots of practical tips for adding olfactory elements to your programmes.

If you want to infuse the sense of smell into your practice or incorporate more multisensory approaches into your programmes, you'll learn a lot from this episode.

Episode Links:

Sofia Collette Ehrich





Museum Ulm Links:




City Sniffers Links:


Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7utP_pAx_E

Odeuropa Impact:

This is an interesting report about the interviews Cecilia Bembibre conducted with museum professionals who have used smells in GLAMs: https://odeuropa.eu/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/D6_1_Guidelines_on_the_Use_of_Smells_in_GLAMs.pdf

Olfactory Storytelling Toolkit:

Download it here: https://zenodo.org/records/10254737

Guidelines for conducting an olfactory guided tour here: https://zenodo.org/records/10102080

Guidelines for conducting a smell walk here: https://zenodo.org/records/10101016

A talk Sofia gave for the Swedish Heritage Commission which included many practical examples:


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The Art Engager
Engage your audience with art and ideas
The Art Engager podcast is here to help museum educators, guides and creatives engage their audiences with art, objects and ideas. Each fortnight I’ll be sharing a variety of easy-to-learn flexible techniques and tools to help you create participant-centred museum experiences that bring art and ideas to life.
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