Science Center plans bold 'Bodies' exhibit
Share with others:
A traveling exhibit that has attracted crowds and controversy is headed to Pittsburgh.
"Bodies ... The Exhibition" will run from October through May 2008 at Carnegie Science Center. The opening date will be announced later this spring.
"It's only fitting for this region, which is very much a leader in medical excellence and innovation, and in transplant science, to host such an exhibition. We can think of no better place than Pittsburgh for it to be anchored for this number of months," said Johanna Haas, Henry Buhl Jr. director of the Carnegie Science Center, during yesterday's teleconference.
The exhibit is designed to give visitors a highly detailed look inside the human body by using 15 preserved bodies and organs, which has drawn some criticism and raised ethical questions. The bodies are maintained by using polymer preservation, a technique in which human tissue is preserved in liquid silicone rubber.
"There's certainly no denying that this exhibit has generated considerable controversy," Haas said. "We're very proud to say that's part of our mission ... as a catalyst for community conversation, stimulating intellectual discourse and not shying away from controversy. Controversy leads to curiosity."
Also on hand at yesterday's announcement was Dr. Roy Glover, chief medical advisor and spokesman for the "Bodies" exhibit, produced by Atlanta-based Premier Exhibitions. Glover is retired professor emeritus of anatomy and cell biology at the University of Michigan, where he was chief medical director of the Medical School Polymer Preservation Laboratory.
Glover addressed the issues raised by critics, including the source of the bodies used: They were hospital patients from China who died of natural causes and who had no families to claim them.
"We are working with a group there that has followed every international and domestic law in obtaining the bodies you will see on display," Glover said. "In addition, we have taken every possible precaution to be sure that the bodies in the exhibition are displayed in a dignified and respectful way." He said methods used to gather the specimens were consistent with the way medical schools acquire human remains for research and educational purposes.
Glover called the exhibit's educational impact "immeasurable" and a way for people to "learn about their bodies in a way they never thought possible."
The exhibit, the largest traveling exhibit to come to the Science Center, will be housed in the museum's UPMC SportsWorks building.
First Published January 24, 2007 12:00 am