Looking Deeper on So Many Levels
Most of the time, my choices for entertainment tend towards pretty standard stuff. Movies, dinner and a glass of wine at a local restaurant--nothing that requires too much thought as by the time I get out of the house I'm too exhausted to put forth any effort. The outing is usually a no-brainer.
Not so this last week, when my daughter and I opted for two-plus hours of examining body parts and entire cadavers at The Franklin Institute during the museum's Body Worlds 2 exhibit, running through April 18, 2010. (The show's just been extended; it was originally slated to close at the end of January.)
For the better part of an afternoon, Megan and I read about, studied and explored the wonders of the human body while viewing a display that can only be described as jaw-dropping. And I do mean that literally, as human bodies are dissected in ways which peel back skin, muscle and bones.
The exhibit isn't for the faint of heart, but if you can get past knowledge that at one time these "specimens" walked among us, it's truly fascinating stuff. The creator of Body Worlds, Gunther von Hagens, developed a process in 1977 by which fluids are removed from the human body and replaced with a plastic resin. Known as "plastination," the procedure allows bodies to be dissected and then posed in lifelike positions, replicating an active human. As if the models themselves weren't amazing enough, my daughter and I couldn't begin to fathom how some of the displays all but appeared suspended in mid air. (One specimen, appropriately called The Diver, balances on two toes as though poised to jump into a pool.)Continued on the next page