“Captivating and edifying, Bodies—The
Exhibition unveils the many complex systems, organs, and tissues
that drive every aspect of our daily lives and unite us all
Since it opened in June at Ala Moana Center, next to Nordstrom,
Bodies—The Exhibition has attracted people of all ages.
But it is not for the squeamish. Featuring more than 200 specimens—whole
bodies and individual organs—it presents a meticulously
dissected and preserved look at the inside—literally—of
the human animal that will, as exhibition literature claims,
enlighten, empower, fascinate, and inspire.
The process used to conserve the specimens, called polymer preservation,
was developed by Dr. Roy Glover, chief medical director of one
of the largest laboratories in North America that was capable
of providing polymer preserved whole bodies and a regular supplier
of these for medical study and research at the University of
According to Premier Exhibitions, which developed the display,
preparation times varies depending on the size of a specimen
or organ. The polymer preservation process starts with dissection
and the application of chemicals to temporarily stop decay. Water
is removed from the specimen and is replaced with acetone. The
specimen is then placed into a vacuum chamber with a liquid silicone
mixture to which is later added a polymer mixture. The silicone
polymer hardens and the specimen is perfectly preserved in every
detail, as if it were made out of rubber.
The exhibition is designed to deliver a healthy dose of educational
medicine to both young and old alike,” Glover said, pointing
out that the exhibition gives people an opportunity to see how
poor health practices such as obesity and smoking affect the
body. He believes that this educational “medicine hopefully
will help provide the antidote to this unfortunate set of health-related
The exhibition has been criticized by various groups with religious
or ethical concerns. However, Glover said that a team of experts,
Premier Exhibitions partners, in Dalian, China, where the bodies
originate, examines each specimen before it is placed in any
of its exhibitions and treats each body in a dignified and respectful
Diligence on the part of Premier ensures that none of the bodies
that we receive and plan to use in our exhibitions show any signs
of execution, torture, and abuse. As a former medical educator,
I involve myself in this process because I understand what an
important responsibility it is to be entrusted with a human body,” said
Senior Jessica Goolsby, a 21-year-old communication major, researched
the exhibition on the Internet and then visited it with her husband.
Goolsby said she found the exhibit interesting and would encourage
people to visit it.
I loved the male body in the last room, the one that displayed
a hip replacement and other medical modifications,” Goolsby
Sophomore nursing student, Kristian Gozum, who is used to seeing
graphic images of the human body, said the exhibit demonstrated
just how complex the body really is.
We can read in the books about how our body functions, but to
visually see our organs, especially the ‘hands-on’ portion
at the end of the exhibit, was awesome,” Gozum said. “It
really was a life-changing experience.”
The exhibition is on a world tour and next visits countries such
as Hungary and Spain. It will continue at Ala Moana through Dec.
21. Hours are Monday through Friday- 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday-
10 a.m. to 7 p.m.