Tonawanda News

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May 28, 2013

Body Worlds exhibit at Buffalo Museum of Science explores life-threatening diseases

Tonawanda News — A new group of visitors scheduled to be at the Buffalo Museum of Science on Friday might feel a little exposed. We’re talking really exposed.

The latest show to grace the halls of the museum on Buffalo’s Humboldt Parkway will be a second visit by the Body Worlds exhibit. Body Worlds first made an appearance at BMS in 2009 in an exhibit that focused mostly on the heart. 

The new show, called “Vital,” deals more with the prevention, fighting and management of life-threatening diseases, museum CEO Mark Mortenson said.

The Body Worlds franchise of science and educational exhibits feature the human body dissected to varying degrees, permanently frozen by a process called plastination. The groundbreaking process was invented by scientist and researcher Dr. Gunther von Hagens as a way to permanently display a body in such a way as to be a learning tool.

Natural fluids inside the body are replaced with plastics, which is then hardened into poses that illustrate how our bodies internally respond to everyday movements and activities, a release from the museum said.

Mortenson said the actual human bodies are donated to van Hagen for the express purpose of being used in this way for the education of the public. 

The bodies were donated in “a very deliberate manner for the purpose of science education,” Mortenson said. “I feel (Body Worlds is) of superior quality because it’s very diligent and direct in its efforts in educating the public about the body and issues of the body.”

In Body Worlds “Vital,” for instance, a pair of healthy lungs may be displayed next to a pair damaged by disease. The display then shows viewers ways in which they can prevent that disease.

“The compelling takeaway (visitors can get) from the exhibit is the education about your own body and possible changes you may need to make in your own daily life in how you treat your body,” Mortenson said. “It shows you, in a really respectful way, the amazing gift we have in our human bodies.”

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