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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Body Worlds

Patrick was looking for comments on the Body Worlds exhibit that just arrived at the museum. So, I thought I'd share a few comments.

Kelly and I went on Saturday (without Cole, of course). We've been looking forward to it since we found out that it was coming to Milwaukee. Even though we saw Body Worlds 1 in Chicago already, we felt it's worth a repeat visit. Besides, the best way to get Body Worlds 2 and 3 to come here is to make sure the turnout is high.

There were some changes to the exhibit since we saw it. A few plastinoids (I think that's the word they used) were added in 2006. Sadly, I think they've left out one of the more awesome pieces this time, a man standing and holding his skin. There's a poster of it near the exit, but it's not quite as impressive.

One of the trademarks of the show is a man on a horse. Both have their inner workings exposed. The man is holding his brain in one hand and the horse's in the other. I think this is one of the most amazing pieces in the exhibit.

Some of the exhibits are going to leave you wondering what the scientific value of this show is. It really is a cross between art and science. I think that some of the pieces were designed to be more thought provoking than others. You will be slightly uncomfortable at times, I'm sure. But, if you have the nerve to really study the bodies there is much to be learned. I was surprised, for example, at how small a kidney really is. I've always pictured them to be much larger.

And, then there's the prenatal development exhibit, which draws quite a crowd. Oddly, in an exhibit where cadavers are posed in strange positions with their organs showing, they section off the area that houses the fetuses. I suppose that some people who go there to see dead people on display might have a problem with seeing an unborn baby. Go figure.

If you're not morally opposed to the exhibit, I highly recommend seeing it for yourself. Take a smoker with you, because there's hardly a clean lung in the whole place. I think that a lot of the plastinoids in Body Worlds 1 are inmates who volunteered for the process. I imagine that's why so many of them were smokers. You can even touch a preserved lung, if you want. I was surprised that the plastic "mold" was so soft and spongy, almost like the real thing I imagine.

As a final FYI: tickets are sold for specific time slots. We arrived very late (about 20 minutes) and were still able to get in. The time slots are probably used mostly for traffic control.