Image via AMNH/R. Mickens

The American Museum of Natural History is inviting visitors to embark on a new, experiential exhibition that explores the power of sensory perceptions and the way human brains make sense of the world. Curated by Rob DeSalle (Division of Invertebrate Zoology), Our Senses: An Immersive Experience opens to the public on November 20, and includes 11 funhouse-like galleries.

Image via AMNH/R. Mickens

During this immersive experience, visitors must rely on their senses as they learn about how and why the human brain perceives the way it does: “Our senses are essential to how we live and make sense of the world around us. They provide pleasure, warn us of danger, and allow us to interact with one another,” said Ellen V. Futter, President of the American Museum of Natural History. “But how exactly do they work, why did they evolve the way they did, and what things are we not able to sense or perceive accurately?”

Image via AMNH/R. Mickens

Futter touches upon the fact that the way we perceive things isn’t always an accurate translation of what’s happening in the world around us. After all, human senses have adapted over the course of our species’ existence. The AMNH notes that in recent evolutionary history, humans have become oblivious to signals like UV and infrared light, very high-and very low-frequency sounds, and electric fields. In addition, human beings are the only species that create imaginary sensory experiences, sharing them with others through language.

Image via AMNH/C. Chesek

To explore the how’s and why’s of perception, the exhibit will present 11 interactive galleries, complete with customized soundtracks, that will shed light on the relationship between sensing and perceiving. Each features a theme: the “Seeing” gallery, for instance, will include walls lit with alternating colored lights while the “Hearing” gallery will be home to an audio collage that challenges visitors to track individual sounds.

“Our Senses: An Immersive Experience” will be on view at the American Museum of Natural History from November 20 to January 6, 2019. For more information, click here. 

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