Body Worlds and The Brain

June 15th, 2010 by Leah Wong

This traveling exhibition aims to teach about the inner workings of the body and the effects certain life choices have.

Bodies are preserved through a process of plastination, which halts decomposition.  The bodies were donated by individuals who provided permission that once they die, their body could be used and displayed for educational purposes.  However, names and cause of death are not disclosed in the exhibit.

The bodies are positioned in ways so each illustrates a different anatomical feature.  For example, when the body is kicking a soccer ball, certain muscles are used - a plastinate in the exhibit is positioned to demonstrate this.  Others show the internal organs, so you can observe their positioning in the body.  In display cases throughout the floor there are individual organs.

Body Worlds is an interesting exhibit that I would highly recommend.  We went to the exhibit on a Friday morning when it was fairly quiet, meaning we had the chance to take our time and read all the descriptions without crowds of people.  When it is busy, groups of around 250 are let into the exhibit at half hour increments.

I have to admit I had my initial reservations the first time I heard about Body Worlds, but jumped at the chance to check out the exhibit.  We were lucky to have many science centre staff members on hand to answer our many questions about the exhibit.  I found the exhibit interesting and informative - the highlights of the exhibit, for me, were seeing how various diseases or conditions affect the internal organs.

Though parents might have hesitations about bringing their children, the science centre staff said that while they advise parents use their discretion, the exhibit can generate conversations about life choices.  For example, there are several lungs from smokers, they are much darker than a healthy lung as well as smaller in size.

There are a variety of special events running throughout the exhibit.  The newest is flashlight nights - on select nights the lights in the exhibit will be turned off and visitors will be given flashlights to navigate their way around!  The first night will be Thursday, June 17 from 7:30pm to 10:00pm.  Additionally, there have been a series of speaker nights running throughout the duration of the exhibit.

Body Worlds runs until September 6, 2021 in Calgary at the Telus World of Science.  During the final week of the exhibition it will be open 24 hours.  Tickets for the final week will sell out, so if you plan on waiting until the end make sure to purchase them in advance.

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