Body Worlds 2: What I saw, and what you are missing…
(Original post date – 10-Apr-07)


He…And you are missing a lot!

For anyone unfamiliar with Body Worlds, please refer to my previous posts, What may REALLY happen to you after you die, and You saw it here (or MySpace) first!. Part of this exhibit was also featured recently in Casino Royale. As promised, I did go see this exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry last Saturday (4/7) It closes in less than three weeks, so time is rapidly running out for anyone who may want to see it. This is an exhibit that is sectioned off from the rest of the museum, and it costs an additional $11 for the ticket. These are sold separately from the general admission, so you may have to wait to get in. I got there as soon as the museum opened, but couldn’t get into Body Worlds until 2:45PM. Advance tickets are available over on-line, but you will have to pay a service charge.

It is somewhat difficult for me to accurately describe what I experienced, so I’ll try my best. I almost felt like I was looking at any kind of exhibit that contained diagrams or models of the body, until the main point sunk in: These are not replicas, these are actual human bodies and parts of them! Almost all of the displays are at ground level, and only individual organs or sections of limbs are encased. The full-body plastinates are posed much like a store mannequin, and completely exposed. You are free to walk all around them, and major points of interest are clearly labeled on placards posted nearby. You are not permitted to touch them, but it was hard for me to reset the urge not to, if anything that just out of curiosity (They feel fairly soft, like many kinds of vinyl or poly-urethane, not hard like fibreglas, and no, I didn’t get caught). There is also no detectable odor. Any unpleasant smell is probably the guy standing next to you (since he is presumably not yet dead, what’s HIS excuse??). I also found myself moving my body in ways very similar to that in which the plastinates were posed, just to I imagine what my own tissues looked like underneath my skin. For anyone who suffers from any degree of frequent or chronic pain, you may get a better understanding of why it hurts so much. There is really a lot going on inside of you! Also, internal organ are smaller than I thought. Your heart really isn’t much bigger than a clenched fist. Kidneys? probably about the size of your computer mouse, if that!

In summary, I thoroughly recommend this exhibit to EVREYONE, regardless of age. I think anyone who has a negative attitude towards the Body Worlds exhibits, especially those who have gone as far as organising protests, are just covering up bad feelings that the have toward their own bodies. They should be ashamed of themselves for feeling this way, not Dr. von Hagens for providing a educational experience that is unequalled by anything else I can imagine. I feel the displays are not at all in bad taste. Some may object to the presentation of the palatinates in life-like poses, yet in some degree of dissection, but how else are we to learn about the body and its many wonders? Children are also welcome and encouraged, but those under 13 are not allowed unsupervised, mainly because male and female genitalia are exposed. We wouldn’t want our children to realize that we ALL have these ‘naughty’ parts (I’m being sarcastic, of course).

Something else I learned, although totally related to the experience, just an observation in passing (time to lighten it up some): Museums are NOT the ‘pick-up’ spot they are sometimes made out to be. No, that WASN’T the real reason I went, but I DID think about it, at least once or twice. Although I went alone, I couldn’t even draw any attention in a room full of dead guys (I’m not that bad looking, really! Physical stats provided at your request…) . I was hoping the “At least this one’s breathing, maybe I’ll talk to him” approach would work in my favour, but no such luck…

One final note that is related to Body Worlds. Dr. von Hagen’s states that several donors sign up every time he runs an exhibit. While I’m not one of them (yet), I did go as far as get copies of all required forms, and am giving donation some serious consideration. Just think, I could be on one of those displays some day…

That would just be too cool…

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