Our Senses: An Immersive Experience

November 20, 2017 — January 1, 2019



Two adults swing a child between them in a room where the walls and floor are covered in a wavy, gridded pattern meant to create an optical illusion of movement.
Every day, we perceive the world around us through our senses—including sight, smell, hearing, touch, balance, and taste. But as it turns out, for humans “reality” isn’t ever exactly what it seems.

In this highly experiential exhibition, explore 11 funhouse-like spaces that dare you to trust your senses—then show you how what we perceive is not simply a window into the world around us but a product of our brains. Plus, discover why we have senses and what’s unique about human perception during an interactive session hosted by a live presenter.


Engage Your Senses


Now you see me, now you don’t: what you see depends on the LIGHT. The same scene can be perceived in many ways.


Explore how the colors you see, and the sounds you hear, are different from what other species sense. There's no one "right" way to see the world. 


You hear with the help of some 15,000 cells arranged in rows deep inside your ears—and listen thanks to your brain’s selective filter. Discover the difference between what helps you hear, and what makes you listen. 


Your senses flood your brain with information—how can you pay attention to it all? Find out what helps you focus—and why our eyes and ears jump to certain things. 


To balance, your brain performs its own balancing act with the information you see, feel, and sense with the organs in your inner ears. Find out what happens when these streams of information clash.


Perceptions don’t just come from your eyes and ears. They also come from your brain. Explore how your brain pieces together scraps of information from your sensory organs, and then fills in the gaps from memory. 


Your sense of touch isn’t one—it’s many, with nerve endings to feel hot, cold, extreme temperatures, pressures, textures, pain, even itch. Find out how complex your touch system really is. 


Decoding mixes of molecules is what your nose is doing all day—and your brain is linking aromas to memories to help you recognize familiar scents. 

Beyond Our Senses

Humans have an advantage: we can extend our senses with technology, using tools to detect things our bodies cannot sense. Find out how we’re using technology to detect and interpret the universe around us.

Our Senses is generously supported by Dana and Virginia Randt.