Q: How long does it take to dissect and permanently preserve each specimen?
A: The timing varies. A small organ can take one week to prepare, whereas the process can take up to a year for a whole body.
Q: What health issues are highlighted in the Exhibition?
A: Bodies…The Exhibition allows people to learn about their own bodies and, ultimately, teaches them how to take better care of their health and make positive lifestyle choices. The Exhibition enables them to see and understand the medical conditions friends and family members face in a whole new way – by highlighting pressing health concerns, including obesity, breast cancer, colon cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, ectopic pregnancy, arthritis, osteoporosis and bone fractures. The Exhibition also highlights damage done to organs due to the perils of smoking and dietary excesses.
Q: What part of the anatomy is the hardest to preserve?
A: The brain is the most difficult organ to preserve due to the makeup of the brain, which is primarily composed of lipids (fat) and water. During the process of polymer preservation, the brain can shrink significantly during dehydration if one is not careful. To manage this problem, the brain is dehydrated in a cold acetone thus better maintaining its original size and shape.
Q: What do the polymer preserved bodies feel like?
A: The specimens feel dry to the touch and can be either rigid or flexible, depending on the mix of chemicals used. While guests will be able to get very close to the specimens, as a rule, guests are not allowed to touch them.
Q: Why use real human specimens instead of constructed models?
A: As Dr. Roy Glover, chief medical director for BODIES … The Exhibition states, “Seeing promotes understanding, and understanding promotes the most practical kind of body education possible. The body doesn’t lie!” Unlike models that idealize the body through the eyes of an artist, the specimens in this Exhibition will show the body and its parts as they really exist. Idealized models have been used for many years to teach about the body. They do not, however, allow for any variation in structure or pathologies – which is key in noting how unique our bodies are.
As medical students and individuals have less time for the study of anatomy, it is even more important to have these unique specimens to give them both a greater understanding of anatomy and some sense of the variation of the human organism.
Q: How long do the bodies last after polymer preservation?
A: The earliest specimens made in the late 1970s are still being used in medical schools around the world. They last indefinitely, just as if they were made entirely of the most indestructible material.
Q: Where do the full body specimens come from?
A: The full body specimens are persons who lived in China and died from natural causes. After the bodies were unclaimed at death, pursuant to Chinese law, they were ultimately delivered to a medical school for education and research. Where known, information about the identities, medical histories and causes of death is kept strictly confidential.
Q: Why are separate body parts or organs displayed?
A: Our medical director has been able to identify obvious medical problems affecting particular individual organs and body parts that are separately on display in a number of cases throughout the Exhibition, and these are indicated where appropriate. For example, a lung is displayed and the disease is identified as emphysema, so those who see it can gain a clearer understanding of this disease.
Q: What is the appropriate age level for viewing the Exhibition?
A: The teaching of basic human anatomy and physiology are hallmarks in any child’s education. We recommend that children attend the Exhibition with a teacher or parent as an adult guide. We feel strongly that the Exhibition can offer a rare family experience: A golden opportunity to open a child’s eyes – and, in a way no textbook ever could, to teach them about the complexities of the human body and the necessity of proper nutrition, regular activity and the importance of healthy lifestyle choices, such as avoiding smoking and alcohol.
The Exhibition will have a special children’s audio tour available, as well as four age-specific teacher’s guides from elementary to post-graduate levels.
Q: Who organized and designed BODIES…The Exhibition?
A: BODIES…The Exhibition is organized by Atlanta-based Premier Exhibitions, Inc. Premier Exhibitions, Inc. is the leading provider of museum quality Exhibitions around the world including Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition and, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, RMS Titanic, Inc., serves as the Salvor-in-Possession for the RMS Titanic. Premier Exhibitions is the leading promoter of human anatomy Exhibitions and has been enthusiastically highlighted on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Martha Stewart Show, Today Show and other well known and prominent programming.