Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Olfaction and Exhibition: Assessing the Impact of Scent in Museums on Exhibit Engagement, Learning and Empathy
by Mills, Cory C., M.A., Florida Atlantic University, 2017, 175; 10610506
Abstract (Summary)

The aim of this investigation is to analyze the effects of incorporating scent-based elements in ethnographic exhibits. Specifically, it attempts to identify changes in patron response to a visual display, with and without a scent element. Groups of patrons were observed throughout their engagement with the exhibit, and interviewed post-engagement to generate data on information retention, opinion on content and empathetic response in relation to the exhibit. Findings suggest that the inclusion of scent did increase memorization of the limited facts reinforced through the scent element. However, there was no detectable difference between the groups on measures of overall comprehension of the subject matter, nor their empathetic responses toward the exhibited culture. The results of the study are discussed as a measure of the observer—observed dichotomy, and the argument is made that multisensory representation in the museum can aid in the facilitation of cross-cultural education.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Harris, Micahel S.
Commitee: Brown, Susan L., Cameron, Mary M.
School: Florida Atlantic University
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: MAI 56/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Cultural Resources Management, Museum studies
Keywords: Anthropology of the senses, Emotions, Memory, Museums, Sense of smell
Publication Number: 10610506
ISBN: 9781369849387
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