Body Worlds 2 takes over Franklin Institute

By Danielle McLaughlin
January 28, 2010

Shannon Keough

Over 25 dead, preserved bodies, a man cut horizontally in 14 pieces and a camel cut in half are just a few of the most shocking and eye-opening displays at the exhibit called Body Worlds 2 & The Brain at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.

This unique exhibit is shocking because it contains real people who donated their bodies. Body Worlds will be open everyday until April 18.

Tickets for Body World may be purchased online or at The Franklin Institute. The Franklin Institute encourages people to buy their tickets ahead of time because tickets can be sold out for any particular date or time.

When first entering Body Worlds, an entire human brain on a turnstile display welcomes guests. This is only the beginning of the fascination. Guests wander their way through various displays exhibiting anything and everything inside the body.

Body Worlds 2 & The Brain features about 25 bodies preserved with a procedure called plastination. Plastination preserves the body in a way that preserves both its internal and external parts. Body Worlds 2 focuses more on the brain and nervous system. Actual brains are on display as well as an entire person’s nervous system.

Most of the bodies displayed are stripped of their skin and the internal organs are visible. These bodies aren’t just on display, they are all in different poses. There is a man swinging a baseball bat, a woman in a yoga pose, a man hanging from trapeze and a teenage boy upside down with a skateboard.

One particularly unique display showcased three different lungs. One pair of healthy adult lungs, the lungs of a smoker and one pair of coal miner’s lungs are displayed in a case.

Onlookers gazed in amazement at the sight the black, deteriorating smoker’s lungs and the striking resemblance the coal miner’s lungs had to actual coal. Next to the lung display is a plastic drop box. As people viewed this display they dropped their packs of cigarettes into the box and made a pledge to quit smoking after seeing what it can do to one’s body.

Among the various organs on display at Body World, many were shown as healthy organs compared to the same organ with a disease. There was a healthy heart and a heart with a tumor and a heart valve. There was healthy breast tissue and breast tissue with cancer. A display featured the side view of a torso from a 120 lb. man compared to that of a 300 lb. man.

One of the more shocking displays at Body Worlds is a display of actual human embryos. This display is set up with several see- through tubes. Each of these tubes contains an embryo at a different week of pregnancy. Next to this display is the body of a pregnant woman. The woman’s stomach is split open to reveal a baby inside her. Next, a display case revealed a placenta with a baby inside and next to that, a placenta with twins inside. It is absolutely amazing to see these extraordinary things right in front of your eyes.

Humans aren’t the only species displayed at Body Worlds. There are a variety of different animals on display as well. The blood vessels of a rooster and a few other animals were displayed. Next to this, a giant camel was cut in half and a baby camel was next to it, also cut in half.

On the way out of the exhibit there is a quote on the exiting wall, which sums up the inventor’s thoughts of his exhibit, Body Worlds: “I hope for Body Worlds to be a place of enlightenment and contemplation even of philosophical and religious self-recognition and open to interpretation regardless of the background and philosophy of life of the viewer.” The inventor is Gunther von Hagens.

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Danielle McLaughlin

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