Preserving the heritage of scent

One facet of heritage that is often neglected is that of scents. Most cultural heritage spaces, places of curated memories, focus on visual exhibitions. What do we do about the olfactory heritage of humanity? For example, we see oral traditions and performing arts in Unesco’s list of intangible cultural heritage to safeguard. How do scents compare?

Cecilia Bembibre, a researcher at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage, addresses that issue in her efforts to develop different techniques to recover and preserve lost scents of the past. Kate McLean, creator of Sensory Maps, has a goal to create “smellmaps”. Some countries also have their own initiatives that focus on the importance of scent in their national heritage.

In this article for BBC Future, writer Miguel Trancozo Trevino delves into the topic and emerges with many interesting findings.


The people trying to save scents from extinction (BBC Future)