Smells evoke memories and since time immemorial, smells have served as memory markers. For some, these memories could be nostalgia, love, or even trauma. As our island develops and matures through the last 700 years, its colourful history can be categorised into different periods where certain moods and emotions prevail.

Image Credits to Je ‘taime Perfumery

If you grew up in 1970s Singapore, the smell of calamine lotion might bring back childhood memories of a warm day because the pink suspension was liberally applied by mothers to soothe prickly heat.

Now, here’s your chance to relive Singapore’s history through your nose!

To enable visitors to experience the dormant mood of different eras, the National Museum and Je t’aime Perfumery have worked together to create a scent to symbolise each of them. If you have ever wondered what it must feel like to live in a particular era in Singapore, you can now experience it at the National Museum.

With input from Museum volunteers, curators, Mrs Prachi Garg, and Je t’aime Perfumery; special scents are created and curated to give visitors this added sensorial dimension to experience SINGAPURA: 700 Years.

These signature scents will be displayed at different locations in all the galleries at the Museum. They range from a musky Ancient Singapore to a spicy Colonial Singapore. Visitors can also take a whiff of Independent Singapore, a refreshing fruity scent that captures the energy of a nation gearing to surge forward and grow.

Image Credits to Je ‘taime Perfumery

Personally, what left a deep impression on me was Fear, an unpleasant smell to represent uncertain times, which can evoke negative emotions.

Image Credits to Je ‘taime Perfumery

Recalling the creation process, Mrs Prachi Garg also lets on that the Singapore Stone was the most difficult to create, as the stone could only be seen along our coasts during low-tide.

Besides this display, Mrs Prachi Garg will also be organising a ‘Perfume Workshop’ where Singaporeans can create their own idea of a ‘Scent of the Nation’ on 2 May 2015 at the National Museum.

Do take note that the “Scent of a Nation” Workshop is chargeable at SGD$40 and it will take place from 10:00am to 12:30pm and registration is required. At this moment in time, tickets are selling pretty fast so if you are keen to sign up, don’t hesitate any longer.

Image Credits to Je ‘taime Perfumery

At the “Scent of a Nation” Workshop, each participant will get the chance to learn the techniques of perfume making and how to mix different ingredients to create their own unique Scent of the Nation.

Also, before the workshop, participants will have a chance to join the museum-volunteers on a guided tour to smell their way through Singapore’s history and experience Singapore’s transformation from a humble fishing village to the pride of an empire, before becoming an independent nation-state that she is today.

And the best part of the workshop?

Each participant gets to keep a 75ml bottle of the perfume that they create during the workshop. If you are interested to sign up for the event, please do so because I assure you that it is going to be a really enjoyable time.


Melvin is an Entrepreneur, Life Coach, and Chinese Metaphysics Practitioner. He holds an EMBA and he is a passionate and engaging teacher, known for his unique combination of science, research, and spirituality.

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