Smell those historic events now, for real!
While we all read and listen to history, what if we could smell it also? How would the industrial revolution or Great Depression smell like? Well, now we may know.
Many historians and scientists across Europe are coming together with perfumers and museums for a unique project: To capture what Europe smelled like between the 16th and early 20th centuries. Funded by the European Union, the team behind the $3.3 million project called Odeuropa will spend three years identifying and recreating historical smells.
The team will create an online encyclopedia mapping out European smells, along with narratives of their place in the timeline. The team of researchers want to catalog European scents from the 16th century into the early 20th. And they’re going to do it with artificial intelligence. Researchers will feed the computer texts from seven languages and images of paintings to train the machine learning software. By the end, the software will be able to scan thousands of documents and images to identify smell descriptions by itself.
After that, the scientists would work with chemists and perfumers to recreate dozens of scents — with the plan to help museums integrate them into exhibits to create an immersive step into history.
The “Encyclopedia of Smell Heritage” will include the meaning of certain scents and will trace the stories behind scents, places and olfactory practices.
Did you know?
Humans have five to six million odor-detecting cells as compared to dogs that have 220 million cells.