Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania will present Making Scents: The Art and Passion of Fragrance from April 10 to November 21:
An intersection of flora, fashion and science, the exhibition will transform the Gardens’ gemlike conservatory into a museum for the senses. Visitors to the exhibition will experience the actual plants and flowers behind iconic perfumes, explore the mysterious power of the sense of smell, discover the unique combination of creative artistry and intricate science behind perfume composition, and have the opportunity to compose a basic fragrance.
“Making Scents: The Art and Passion of Fragrance will inspire and educate guests about the storied history and evocative power of scent,” said Longwood Gardens Director Paul B. Redman. “This exhibition is so perfectly suited to the setting of Longwood, where guests can experience first-hand the fragrant plants and beauty of nature that are at the heart of the fragrance story.”
The exhibition is divided into four major sections: Into a Fragrant World, The Art of Perfume & Fragrant Gardens, The Science of Fragrance, and Your Fragrant Garden. Upon entering one of the country’s largest conservatories, Longwood guests will encounter an 18-foot tall sculptural trellis in the shape of a perfume bottle. Specially crafted for the exhibition, the structure will be interlaced with changing, fragrant plantings that vary with each season. [...]
More than 260 different Genera of aromatic plants and flowers have been added specifically for the exhibition, joining more than 5,500 types of plants from around the world already housed in the historic conservatory. Yellow freesias, Oriental lilies, hyacinths, gardenias and lilacs are interspersed with the exhibition. The delicate white blooms of jasmine, which emit a sweet and rich scent featured in many notable perfumes, will be contrasted with fresh-scented lavender, popular for centuries as an ingredient in soaps and potpourri. Ylang ylang, a yellow flower of the cananga tree that grows in Indonesia and the Philippines, is highly prized for its rich and complex fragrance and is used by perfumers to add depth and intensity to several important perfumes. [...]
Making Scents: The Art and Passion of Fragrance also will explore the sense of smell and how scent molecules send signals to the brain that trigger moods, emotions and memories. The interpretation of scents can guide actions, influence behavior and affect feelings. The exhibition will describe the biological processes of smell, including how olfactory neurons in the nose are stimulated by approximately 10,000 different odor molecules. Human beings are instinctually hard-wired to respond to smell, but individual reactions to particular scents can be experiential, based on culture and personal experience, such as the sweet and spicy scent of cinnamon evoking joyful memories of family gatherings, or the potent fragrance of lilies acting as a poignant reminder of a loss.
Making Scents: The Art and Passion of Fragrance will showcase the technical processes behind perfume creation, from traditional harvest and extraction methods to chemical combinations of synthetic fragrances. Visitors will be able to experience and describe the scents of mystery perfumes, determining whether they can be classified as Floral, Citrus, Fern (fresh and aromatic), Woody (warm and opulent), Oriental (soft and sensuous), Leather (smoky) or Chypre (mossy or earthy). After identifying their favorite scents and exploring possible combinations of notes, visitors can create a scented card featuring their own personal fragrance.
The exhibition will trace key moments in the history of perfume, beginning with the earliest recorded Egyptian scent around 1800 B.C.E. and culminating with Coco Chanel’s release of No. 5 in 1921, the first perfume for the modern woman...
Special events will include talks with Avery Gilbert, author of What the Nose Knows (Sunday, March 21st at 2 pm), Richard Stamelman, author of Perfume: Joy, Obsession, Scandal, Sin (Sunday, April 25th at 2 pm), and Dr Roman Kaiser of Givaudan (Thursday, May 13th at 7 pm).
For more information, see the Longwood Gardens website.
(via press release)