Blitzed Brits: Exhibition on WWII Smells Opens at IWM North {Scented Paths & Fragrant Addresses}


An interactive, sensory exhibit entitled Horrible Histories: Blitzed Brits marks the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII. It includes installations in which some of the typical distressing smells of WWII in Great Britain are wafting anew all whirling together at IWM North in Manchester, part of the Imperial War Museums...

blitzed_brits_eyes.jpg A humorous, general guideline states,

"Pick up a survival guide and begin your journey through the Blitz. Immerse yourself in the horrible home front as you snoop through a 1940s house, stumble through a blackout, hide in a cramped bomb shelter and milk a cow like an evacuee. Sniff your way through stinky smells, from pig bins to ration stew."

It's not the most pleasant smells of history that you will be invited to inhale, quite to the contrary, but the effect is supposed to be even more affecting. Be you part of the older generations or newer ones, there are bound to be exchanges about recollections and first impressions.

"The frightening reality of a bomb blast is enhanced with the diffusion of an acrid, dusty, burning smell which hangs in the air around piles of broken rubble." [...] In the kitchen the unappetising aromas of ration foods can be experienced, while out in the yard clothes on a washing line introduce an old fashioned, simple, soapy fragrance. A garden scene representing the 'Dig for Victory' ethos is evoked with the damp, muddy smell of soil and compost. There is even a journey out to the countryside where the fresh, lush, grass-filled air which greeted the many arriving evacuees provides a strong point of contrast to the urban tableaux."

According to Perfumer & Flavorist, the scents were recreated by perfumers from Seven Scent. Visitors will be encouraged to lift lids on boxes containing the smells.

The exhibit is comprehensively sensory, with not only smells, but sounds and visuals thanks to "more than 200 objects, photographs, art works, film clips and sound recordings and [it] reveals the personal stories of the people who lived through the Blitz."

The museum exhibition is organized in partnership "with the highly successful UK children's sketch show, Horrible Histories, and in partnership with Scholastic Children's books, 'Horrible Histories: Blitzed Brits'"

Free entrance. Open from July 11 2015 until 10 April 2016.

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