Last Thursday I got the opportunity to attend the media preview for Body Worlds, the newest exhibit at Discovery Place in Charlotte. The last time it was in town was when I was in college- I heard great things but never got the chance to go. This is one of the most visited exhibits in the entire world and lucky for us NC folks, they’re back in Charlotte through March.
This exhibit takes you on a journey through the cycle of life of the human body- from birth to aging. As a future physician assistant, this was right up my alley! Their main purpose is to educate the public on the effects of good health, poor health, and the lifestyle choices we make.
We got to hear Dr. Angelina Whalley speak about the history of the exhibit and the plastination process. She is the creative designer and conceptual planner of the exhibit and is actually married to the inventor himself, Dr. Gunther von Hagens. Plastination is a technique that is used to preserve the body, which turns the tissues into solid, durable, and odorless specimens that are used for the purposes of education. All of this takes place at the Institute for Plastination in Heidelberg, Germany. Fun fact: A whole body plastinate (like the baseball player above) can take up to 1,500 hours to complete!
All of these bodies (and individual body parts) come from donors who have agreed to give their bodies to science and education. There are even a few live donors here in NC! This way, people can come and take a closer look at what goes on within the body and ultimately feel more in tune with their health.
Take these smoker’s lungs for example. Not too appetizing, right??
Along with lifelike full-body plastinates, there are other interesting displays such as the blood flow to the heart, a spine with scoliosis, and a brain with Alzheimer’s. I had the opportunity to dissect a cadaver in PA school so I’ve seen my fair share of the inside of a human body. Some people might be a little freaked out that all of these specimens are real, but it truly is art and you won’t be disappointed!
If you’re in the Charlotte area and would like to visit the Body Worlds & The Cycle of Life exhibit, you can find out more info here. Hope y’all have a great day and thanks for stopping by!