The Art of Scents at The North Carolina Arboretum

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  • People exploring scents
  • A person at a scent exhibit
  • Old perfume bottle

The North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville has revealed its latest traveling exhibit, Making Scents: The Art and Passion of Fragrancea, which will debut on May 26, 2018, at the Arboretum’s Baker Exhibit Center.

In this interactive exhibit, attendees will learn about the history of perfume, along with some of the aromatic botanicals that go into them. Topics discussed in the exhibit will include how many rose petals go into Chanel No.5, the role of North Carolinian farmers in fragrance, Napoleon’s quest for cologne and more. 

“The Arboretum has worked nearly two years to recreate and curate this exhibit,” said Clara Curtis, senior director for mission delivery at The North Carolina Arboretum. “From the beauty inside the Perfume Palace, to the interactive activities for both adults and children, this exhibit really appeals to all ages and audiences. We are excited to debut Making Scents at the Arboretum and look forward to traveling it to other gardens and museums throughout the country.”

Visitors can also create their own fragrance card with top, middle and base notes, at computerized stations, or view some 200 perfume bottles on display at the Perfume Palace. Additionally, the exhibit will include 10 different scent-seeking stations, which will feature a display case with the plants that went into the fragrance and the story behind it.

“I like to think of this exhibit as a trip around the globe for your nose,” said Clara Curtis, senior director for mission delivery at The North Carolina Arboretum. “But the truth is that this is the kind of experience that exercises all of our senses.”

To celebrate the opening, the Arboretum will host a special scent soiree on June 7, 2018, and feature perfume expert Richard Stamelman on June 8. The exhibit will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and run from May 26 through September 3, 2018. 


a. Making Scents: The Art and Passion of Fragrance is a registered trademark.