Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.807852
Title: Smell of heritage
Author: Bembibre Jacobo, Cecilia
ISNI:       0000 0004 9352 6908
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2020
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Abstract:
We don’t know much about the smells of the past. Yet, odours play an important role in our daily lives: they affect us emotionally, psychologically and physically, and influence the way we engage with history. Can this lead us to consider certain smells as cultural heritage? And if so, what would be the processes for the identification, protection and conservation of those heritage smells? In order to answer these questions, the connection between olfaction and heritage was approached through the framework of Significance Assessment – Chemical Analysis – Sensory Analysis – Archiving. Four case studies were developed, each around a different smell: old books and historic libraries; scented conservation wax, historic pot-pourri, and mould. Through them, the validity of the framework was tested, while exploring associated aspects of olfaction in heritage: authenticity, value in connection with visitor experience and interpretation, considerations around historic odour reconstruction and role of non-sensory input in historic odour perception. Odour characterisation was achieved by chemical analysis of the volatile organic compounds (VOC) for each case study, using either HS-SPME-GS-MS or HS-TD-GC-TOF-MS. Sensory characterisation was obtained via GC-O and odour evaluation panels. Visitor experience surveys were also conducted in a historic house setting. Smells were documented using odour wheels and other forms of visual representation. Some findings of this study worth discussing are: (1) the perception of authenticity in historic odours is not necessarily linked to a chemically-accurate reconstruction; (2) several historic odours present an ambiguity that lead to characterisation being significally modulated by both sensory and non-sensory information and (3) there is a great potential for non-visual engagement of visitors with the space and collections in heritage institutions, currently untapped. This is the first systematic study of olfaction in heritage and therefore its insights will be relevant to the heritage community, as well as engaging with current research in the field of odour perception, interpretation and representation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.807852  DOI: Not available
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