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Heureka, suomalainen tiedekeskus

BODY WORLDS exhibition opened at Heureka

Media release.
Published: 15-Feb-2013 11:58 am
Publisher: Heureka, suomalainen tiedekeskus

February 15, 2013

BODY WORLDS exhibition opened at Heureka

The Body Worlds exhibition was opened at Heureka. In this world-famous exhibition visitors can learn about human anatomy, physiology, health and diseases by viewing real human bodies and organs preserved through the process of plastination. The primary goal of Body Worlds is health education. It is also presented in the hopes that it will motivate visitors to learn more about the science of anatomy and physiology.

Created by the German doctor Gunther von Hagens, Body Worlds is a unique set of exhibitions where visitors learn about human anatomy by viewing real human bodies and organs preserved through the process of plastination. Dr. von Hagens invented the method of plastination in 1977 when working as anatomist at the University of Heidelberg. The method makes it possible to preserve specimens for medical teaching. In the process of plastination, the fats and fluids in the body are replaced with fluid plastics that harden after so-called vacuum-forced impregnation. After the bodies are shaped into lifelike poses, they are hardened with gas, heat or light. The plastinates show how our bodies move in everyday life, as well as during athletic activities.

Already over 13 300 donors

All bodies displayed in the Body Worlds exhibitions have been donated to be used for scientific purposes and to increase public awareness of the complexity of the human body. Donors who so generously willed their bodies for the purpose of Plastination - to educate the public about anatomy and physiology - take centre stage in this unprecedented homage to humanity. Excluding a small number of organs and specimens acquired from anatomical collections and morphological institutes, the plastinated specimens on display in Gunther von Hagens’ Body Worlds exhibitions stem from a unique body donation programme established in Heidelberg, Germany in 1982, and later managed by the Institute for Plastination (IfP) in Heidelberg, established in 1993.  

The Institute for Plastination has a donor roster of over 13,300 individuals that includes over 11,800 Europeans and over 1,400 Americans. From the beginning, the donors were excited about the ground-breaking technique of Plastination and recognised that they were going to be part of something unprecedented. They wanted to make the education of future generations their enduring legacy. With the wish that their bodies be used for educational purposes, the donors have given their permission to their bodies being displayed to the public after their death.

Health education with comparative anatomy

Gunther von Hagens’ spouse, Doctor Angelina Whalley, is the Director of the Institute for Plastination as well as the creative and conceptual designer of the Body Worlds exhibitions. For Angelina Whalley it is important to present the specimens, organs and plastinates in ways that would engage visi­tors. “I wanted to further our mission of health education, by ennobling the post-mortal body and with­out sacrificing aesthetics. I try to present the body in a dramatic, memorable, beautiful way so that peo­ple can learn about anatomy, disease and health,” Whalley has said.

Whalley also introduced the principle of comparative anatomy to the exhibitions, where diseased or­gans were placed next to healthy organs to striking effect. “The body is so fragile and vulnerable, and yet so resilient and forgiving,” she says. “It has a memory so that what we do to it matters, but it also has a dynamic consciousness so that giving up unhealthy lifestyles or taking up exercise, even small changes, can make a difference.” The arresting sight of the blackened lung of a cigarette smoker next to a healthy lung has prompted countless visitors to swear off smoking, while the diseased shrunken liver next to its healthy counterpart has prompted many to surrender alcohol.

The Finnish Science Centre Heureka is the first to show the exhibition in Finland, from 16 February to 22 September 2013. The exhibition shown at Heureka, BODY WORLDS & The Story of the Heart, focuses on the heart with its extensive vascular system. It consists of more than 200 genuine specimens and approximately 20 entire human bodies displayed in various positions. Body Worlds is open to all visitors, regardless of age. We recommend that children under the age of eight visit the exhibition together with an adult.

The main cooperation partner of the Body Worlds exhibition at Heureka is Coxa Hospital for Joint Replacement. Coxa has produced its own exhibit to Heureka presenting artificial joints and equipment used in joint replacement surgeries. Visitors can also learn about the progress of osteoarthritis and peek into a joint replacement operating theatre.

Further information:

Sami Pihkala, Project Manager, tel. +358 (0)40 9015 367, sami.pihkala@heureka.fi

Mikko Myllykoski, Experience Director, tel. +358 (0)40 9015 244, mikko.myllykoski@heureka.fi

Heli Ainoa, Communications Director, tel. +358 (0)40 9015 295, heli.ainoa@heureka.fi





Photos of the exhibition in Heureka's image bank at http://kuvapankki.info/heureka/info.php


In co-operation Tekonivelsairaala Coxa

Heureka, the Science Centre is a unique high-level cultural and educational institution that is among Finland’s most popular leisure time destinations. Its mission is twofold: on the one hand the Science Centre performs important educational and public service tasks, and on the other hand it operates in the leisure time market. It is a place for the entire family. Heureka has three exhibition halls for interactive exhibits and a brand new planetarium. Heureka operates in three languages: English, Finnish and Swedish. It is located  in the Helsinki metropolitan area, In Tikkurila, Vantaa. Heureka is open around the year. More information: www.heureka.fi

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