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The Nose at The Wellcome Collection

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by Bastion Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
We're a Bunch of Nosy People
wellcome collection, the nose

They can be dainty buttons or great big honkers, but whichever you have, don't take your nose for granted. We all know why the nose is important, but there is much more to them than being a simple breathing apparatus. In a fun and quirky series of discussions and drop in activities, the Wellcome Collection in presenting a one night event where you can discover all the weird and wonderful facts about what makes your nose so special.

From 7pm-11pm on the 17th May, visit the gallery and learn fascinating facts from surgeons, scientists, and professors:

Urban Greening

To most of us, the coming of spring is a thing of great anticipation. It means warmth, flowers, sun, and barbecues. If you have hay fever, however, spring means an entirely different thing altogether: watery eyes, lots of sneezing, and a runny nose.

The Royal College of Pathologists have come to change all that. At least at home, anyway. Meet them in their Urban Greening Garden and find out which plants are best to grow, and are less likely to make you sneeze outside.

How the Nose Knows a Rose is a Rose

A half hour talk starting at 8pm will be given by the ear, nose, and throat surgeon, Simon Gane. He is going to explain the controversial theory of 'quantum smell', which is suggests that our sense of smell is not only affected by the shape of molecules in the air, but how those molecules vibrate as well.

Portrait of the Nose

ripley believe it or not museum, long nose
The most unfortunate nose in history.

What we look like depend on our genes and our environment. We can be blessed with beauty or suffer from an unlucky roll of the dice. Sometimes though, life can be just plain cruel.

Between 9pm-9.30pm, you will be Taken on a pictorial journey, and shown some of the most extreme noses in history.

The Smell of Envy

Two one-hour shows starting at 7.45pm and 9.30pm will be performed by Pigeon Theatre; the smell oriented show will be, accompanied by a commentary by the cognitive neuroscientist Colin Lever, who will investigate the neuroscience of smell, space and memory.

A Run of Noses

Joshua Sofaer's photographic collection of false noses will be on display at the gallery. After you have had a look around, the actress, Abigail Davis has volunteered to play guinea pig, as you create your own prosthetic noses out of sticky tape, and take some snap photos of your willing model.

Little Bottles, Big Smells

Get ready for some serious stink with chemist, Andrea Sella. She and her students will torture you with their experimental smells.


All you big-nosed champagne lovers are about to have your prayers answered. No longer will you struggle to stick your snoz in the glass, not with Brian Lobel's range of mugs and glassware. Have a go at his workshop, and custom make your own cup.

London Nasal Choir

Feeling musical? Make your own nose flute, learn how to play, and join London's first nose flute choir.

Ott's Sneeze

Do you know what the first copyrighted motion picture was? It was a film showing Thomas Edison's assistant sneezing. Come and see.

The Perfect Nose

If you have ever considered having a nose job, then you might be interested to talk with plastic surgeon, Lydia Badia, who will be at hand to answer any questions.

Recreational Nasendoscopy

Not an activity for the squeamish, a team of surgeons will give you a tour of the nose through live video footage.
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Why? Learn something
When: 17th May 7pm-11pm
Phone: 44 (0)20 7611 2222
Where: Wellcome Collection
Cost: Free
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