Smell and Tell: The Plague Doctor’s Cabinet of Olfactory Curiosities

Wednesday December 20, 2017: 6:30 pm to 8:45 pm -- Downtown Library: 4th Floor Meeting Room

During the Black Plague many believed that smelling sweet substances prevented disease caused by miasma, a form of “bad” air (Italian mal aria) given off by decomposing organic matter. This shaped the work of plague doctors, who donned protective masks inspired by the shape of a bird’s beak to accommodate aromatic materials like rose, carnation, mint, spices, and camphor.

We continue to conquer bad smells with good ones even though germ science has replaced the miasma theory of disease that was prevalent in 14th century Europe. The west has entered a period of obsessive aromatization in the culture that has less to do with disease and more to do with masking odors created by everyday living in the age of science.

Have we been taught to fear our human essence? What is it about natural organic and human odors that generate anxiety? How does this feed into smells as indicators of “otherness” in the culture? Modern perfumery touches on scent memories that are familiar, forgotten, othered and repressed. We’ll examine aromatic substances used by plague doctors to understand the multiple forms, functions and facets of smells, and how this shapes how we evaluate people and our surroundings.

The Smell and Tell series of lectures is led by Michelle Krell Kydd, a trained nose in flavors and fragrance who shares her passion for gastronomy and the perfume arts on Glass Petal Smoke. The Smell and Tell series debuted at the Ann Arbor District Library in 2012 and is ongoing.

Smell & Tell: Exotic Woods and Ethereal Exudates

Wednesday January 17, 2018: 6:30 pm to 8:45 pm -- Downtown Library: 4th Floor Meeting Room

The allure of Orientalia is unceasing. Perhaps it is because our desires and passions are liberated by the exotic, which will not permit sublimation. The woody and balsamic categories in perfumery continue to unleash a timeless attraction to scented journeys that beguile the senses. Ingredients like Sandalwood, Guaicwood, Frankincense and Benzoin have their origins in incense, the worshipful art that is the mother of perfumery. Join Michelle Krell Kydd, trained nose in flavors and fragrance, and editor of Glass Petal Smoke for an aromatic trip to the east where the treasures of perfumery await…

The Smell and Tell series of lectures is led by Michelle Krell Kydd, a trained nose in flavors and fragrance who shares her passion for gastronomy and the perfume arts on Glass Petal Smoke. The Smell and Tell series debuted at the Ann Arbor District Library in 2012 and celebrates its sixth anniversary year in 2018. It's the longest running series of multisensory programming in AADL’s history, and the only one of its kind in the country!

City of Ann Arbor Recycling Craft: Plastics & Looking Out for Wildlife

Saturday January 20, 2018: 10:00 am to 12:00 pm -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for preschool - grade 5

Transform a plastic container into a winter feeder or shelter for backyard wildlife and use alternatives to plastic to create a compostable version.

Learn about threats plastics pose to wildlife, why and how plastics are handled at the recycling center, and try your hand sorting recyclables on our portable conveyor.

League of Women Voters Forum: Line 5 and Other Challenges Impacting the Great Lakes

Tuesday January 23, 2018: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

The Great Lakes Committee of the Ann Arbor chapter of the League of Women Voters will host a panel discussion on challenges facing the Great Lakes, with an update on the Line 5 oil pipeline.

A panel of experts, including Dr. Eric Anderson (NOAA) and Liz Kirkwood (Executive Director, FLOW), will present and discuss the issues, followed by a Q&A with the audience.

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.