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Opens at Fernbank Museum on February 8

Riveting New Exhibit Includes Interactive Experiences that Reveal
How our Brains Make Sense of the World

ATLANTA—January 17, 2020—In the highly experiential exhibition Our Senses: An Immersive Experience, Fernbank Museum presents a series of funhouse-like experiences that dare visitors to rely on their senses—and then reveal how and why what they perceive may not actually be what’s happening. Inspired by extraordinary diversity of sensory “super powers,” Our Senses invites children and adults alike to play with color, patterns, sounds, scents and textures to explore the science of our senses from Feb. 8 through May 3, 2020.

Visitors can experience interactive spaces designed to test perceptions and illuminate the complex relationships between sensing and perceiving. Guests are presented with an intriguing proposition that the five senses we most commonly know are not the full story—human sensory perceptions may seem like windows into the outside world, but actual perceptions are created in the brain. Every sight, sound, smell, taste and touch is detected by specialized sense systems that send signals to the brain. The brain then decodes signals into perceptions through detecting, selecting, correcting and balancing to influence the experience of “reality.” Not to be outdone, our inner senses, like hunger, thirst and tiredness, detect what our bodies need and team up with our outer senses, like vision, hearing and smell, to find things in the world that our bodies need to stay alive.

Throughout the exhibit, guests can put their senses to the test as they encounter challenges, interactions and technologies that help make sense of their senses while revealing the secret sights, sounds and smells that only other species know.

Interactive experiences include:

  • Shine a white light on colorful decorated walls to reveal hidden images that show how different the world can appear when illuminated in white, blue, green, or red.
  • Analyze an audio collage to track individual sounds, such as an individual instrument within an orchestra.
  • Explore a garden through the eyes of a bee or a butterfly, where flowers appear like enormous targets, with ultraviolet marks that identify a meal.
  • Use an infrared viewer to hunt like a snake using heat to detect prey.
  • Dial into animal sounds normally outside the range of human hearing—including the calls of a whale, elephant, mouse and bat.
  • See with your brain as you experience how you are able to interpret incomplete or inconclusive imagery.
  • Discover what happens when your senses disagree in a balancing test, where your feet feel a flat floor but your eyes see curves, dips and ripple
  • Get hands-on in a touch zone that engages multiple types of nerve endings to feel different patterns, temperatures and textures.
  • Sniff out fragrance notes to identify individual scents in a symphony of smells.
  • Test a computer’s learning abilities by arranging puzzle-like pieces to create pictures then challenge the computer to get better at guessing what they are.
  • Participate in a live show that explores why humans have senses and what’s unique about human perception (show times are limited and will be posted in exhibit)

“This highly immersive exhibit really showcases the senses, including how humans and other species simply could not survive without them--or the brain that decodes and processes the sensory information,” said Dr. Bobbi Hohmann, Vice President of Programming and Collections. “With the human drive for exploration and discovery, we have also been able to extend our senses and expand our abilities with technological innovations like microscopes, x-rays and ultrasonic sound waves. Guests will discover how these advancements have allowed humans to explore our world beyond the biological senses to make new discoveries.”  

Our Senses is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (

Our Senses: An Immersive Experience is on view at Fernbank Museum from Feb. 8-May 3, 2020. Tickets are included with general museum admission: $20 for adults, $19 for seniors, $18 for children ages 3-12 (no charge for ages 2 and under), and free for Fernbank members.

Fernbank is located at 767 Clifton Road NE in Atlanta. For tickets and more information, visit or call 404.929.6400.

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