When somebody offers me the chance to see one of the world’s most amazing exhibitions, with the promise of plenty of blood and gore, I’m not one to turn it down. OK, so the blood and gore weren’t exactly part of the exhibition, but this amazing display of the human body and the intricacies behind it was still well worth seeing.
Located in Haifa, the Body Worlds exhibition – yes, that much-talked about exhibition that uses REAL bodies – holds some 20 displays of bodies plus another 130 human organs. Its purpose: to expose the amazing physical structure of the human body. And it might just help you stop smoking, especially if you’re teetering on the edge of the quitting crevice.
The exhibition has been a hit all over the world and been seen by some 26 million people. As well as the exhibition in Haifa it is also being shown in the US (San Diego and Tampa) and in Europe (London, Heidelberg and Sevilla). Nice to see the Israel National Museum of Science, Technology and Space in Haifa get on the scene for an exhibition of this size and stature.
And yes, the Body Worlds exhibition includes real body parts, which are on public display thanks to the process of Plastination, invented by the colorful physician and anatomist behind the exhibition Dr. Gunther von Hagens. The bodies themselves have been donated to the cause, all above board and checked by the relevant authorities. There is, in fact, a waiting list of 10,000 people willing to give up their bodies and stay eternally in this world in some shape or form.
If you’re a little squeamish, this exhibition probably isn’t for you. There are body parts all over the place, healthy organs compared with nasty looking diseased organs…just bear that in mind if you’re thinking of taking the kids. A straw poll in the car ride home (after a shwarma at Hazan Shwarma – ask the locals in Haifa, they’ll know in which direction to point you!) indicated low votes from those that found some of the exhibits a little too much…
It costs 85 shekels to get in to Body Worlds, though various offers are available through various tour agencies, credit cards and so on. The museum is open from 10am to 10pm every day, apart from Sundays, when it opens at noon. You’ll need at least something like 90 minutes to get the best out of the exhibition.
Some interesting quotes about the Body Worlds exhibition:
The glory of God is found in the human fully alive. The human body is essential to our humanity – to our personhood – and any growth in the understanding and knowledge of our human body leads to a greater appreciation of our dignity as human persons.
Father Richard Benson, C.M., Ph.D., St. John’s Seminary, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
I was very proud that the Science Center board and the professionals involved were willing to take the risk of receiving some flak for the higher gain of educating the public about health and the human body. Moreover, when we see with our own eyes the unbelievable design of the human body in all its fine detail, it helps us understand better the Designer who created and shaped humanity.
Rabbi Morley Feinstein, University Synagogue.
A couple of let-downs in my opinion, though really not biggies:
- Lack of English promotional materials. No leaflets, no little souvenir pamphlet…
- Though all the exhibits were described in English, some of the explanations were badly placed. In a couple of examples I found myself squeezed up against the wall trying to read the text on the back of the Hebrew placard, which had been placed with a little bit more thought and purpose for its Hebrew reading audience.
The Body Worlds exhibition is in Israel until 13th September 2009, so go check it out before it’s too late!