Present: Preserving the Urban Sensorium
As the place who will represent the city’s present as the future’s past, how then can city museums contribute to recording, and the preserving, the present urban sensorium – especially with regard to the more ephemeral sensations? Evoking noises and smells is a relatively old museum or heritage site tool, e.g at Museum of London Docklands one can smell different spices that would have been imported into London, in the Victorian Walk at London Wall the sound of horses and carriages are present. But often these tools are artificial ‘recreations’ of sensory features of the past, rather than actual traces. As sensory experience is important for understanding the lived present of the city not only in relation to personal feelings, but also with regard to citizenship, migration, welfare and sense of place, it is timely to think about how these sensations can be recorded and preserved to enable dialogue about changes in the city. The data can be used in different ways for debates or incorporation into exhibitions.