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By Alice Carlton on

Unlocking my Supersenses

Can a museum exhibition engage all five of our senses? Alice Carlton gives us a younger visitor's view of Supersenses.

WOW! I listened to things I would normally see, I looked at things I would normally hear, and I listened to the oldest sound in the universe. How could this all be possible?

When I first heard about the Supersenses exhibition, I wondered how anyone would make an exhibition out of things we could touch, taste, hear and smell with our eyes. It was fascinating for all ages on how other people see and hear the world differently. This incredible exhibit shows you early inventions that people made to improve their hearing and sense of direction before modern technology came along. This was all organised in just under a year!

There is a brilliant experience for people of all ages to explore how animals and other people go about their daily life using their super senses. It is a really fun way to learn about using touch, hearing and sight for different reasons. One of the first things you will see is a sandpit (or soundpit?!) with projected patterns that create sound. There is also a London Underground map that was created by a man called James Wannerton, who had a special type of synaesthesia that caused him to get a flavour every time he thought of a word!

Sensory Soundpits, by Di Mainstone
Sensory Soundpits by Di Mainstone
London Underground taste map, 2013, by James Wannerton & Transport for London
London Underground taste map, 2013, by James Wannerton and Transport for London

You might be able to see some of the things people used to help their hearing, including the largest hearing aid in the world created for the king of Portugal hundreds of years ago! There is also a life changing belt that helps with direction, as it buzzes when you are facing north, and if you keep it on for a long time, it improves you sense of direction!

Acoustic throne, about 1950, National Museums Liverpool
Acoustic throne, about 1950, National Museums Liverpool
feelSpace belt, courtesy of feelSpace
feelSpace belt, courtesy of feelSpace

Filmed from an animal’s point of view, there is a video about the sounds and sights of a forest.

In the Eyes of the Animal, by Marshmallow Laser Feast
In the Eyes of the Animal by Marshmallow Laser Feast

You will get a chance like no other when you will be able to dress up as a catfish (kids as well!) as you discover how they use their taste buds!

Tounge jacket, by Seams Historic
Tounge jacket by Seams Historic

Pick up a headset to listen to the oldest sound in the universe. You can grab the opportunity to listen to sounds made by tiny animals that you wouldn’t normally hear.

Hearing the Big Bang
Hearing the Big Bang

There are a real pair of 160-year-old eyeballs in the museum (my favourite part!), donated by John Dalton (a famous scientist) when he died. You can have a go at matching a red light and a green light to make a yellow light. The colours get recorded to show how differently we see colours.

Remains of John Dalton's eyes photographed on a white background
Remains of John Dalton’s eyes, 1844, Science Museum Group Collection © The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum
Colour Vision experiment
Colour Vision experiment

At the end of the exhibition, there is a sound experience that you must experiment with. It is full of sounds that you can hear every day, but this is a chance to hear them differently.

Journey Through the Mirror Pool, by Noise Orchestra and Alan Dunn with Chris Watson
Journey Through the Mirror Pool by Noise Orchestra and Alan Dunn with Chris Watson

All photos by Jason Lock

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