Coming to Our Senses: The World of Perfume

Wednesday, November 16, 2:00–3:30 P.M. | Forum of Civics Building, 2503 Westheimer at Kirby Drive. Limited enrollment

Smell is thought to be our oldest sense.  While it’s not as dominant today as sight and touch, it is still our most evocative sense: olfactory sensors connect to the part of our brain that governs emotions and emotional memory.  When we encounter a particular fragrance, it not only stimulates our sense of smell but also engages our memory of certain experiences and the emotions attached to them.  Humans recall scents considerably longer and with greater accuracy than they do visual images, and the smell of a particular perfume can instantly and vividly remind us of someone from our past.

In an interactive presentation, Alyssa Harad, author of the memoir Coming To My Senses: A Story of Perfume, Pleasure, and an Unlikely Bride, will introduce participants to the history of perfume, the perfume industry, the range of scents used, and how perfume is made. She will also explore scent's link to memory, why an individual might select a particular perfume, feminism vs. femininity, the pleasure to be found in perfume, and helpful tips to know before you embark on buying perfume.

Alyssa Harad is a writer based in Austin, Texas. In addition to being a perfume expert and collector, she has worked as a cook, journalist, and creative arts facilitator at a private psychiatric hospital and has collaborated with therapists and others to work with girls and women, particularly survivors of sexual abuse and trauma.



Welcome to Spring 2018! 

Going Baroque!
Thursday, January 18, 7:30–9:00 p.m. | Christ the King Lutheran Church, 2353 Rice Boulevard at Greenbriar. Parking information distributed to subscribers.


An Intimate Concert of Modern and Contemporary Music of Mexico
Tuesday, January 23, 6:30-8:00 P.M.
Private home. Address to subscribers.

Comida en la Cuidad
Tuesday, February 6, noon | Caracol Restaurant, 2200 Post Oak Boulevard, 77056


Modern Architecture in Mexico City
Tuesday, February 20, 12:00-1:30 P.M. | Moody Center for the Arts, Rice University


Thomas Jefferson: The Essential Democrat
Three Wednesdays, February 21, 28 and March 7, 6:30-8:00 P.M. | Covenant Church, 4949 Caroline, 77004



For additional information about any of our courses, to register offline, or to add your name to our mailing and/or email lists, please contact our adminstrator at  or phone 713.666.9000.