Kind of Gross . . . But Definitely Informative
"Bodies . . . The Exhibition," a recently opened science exhibit featuring the plasticized remains of humans, is an exercise in edutainment. The dark, moody lighting is supposed to remind you that you're in on something Very Cool.
I can't say that I personally felt that way while walking through the exhibit preview last Thursday night, but hey, I get squeamish at the sound of cracking knuckles. If little things like dissected, plasticized humans don't gross you out, the exhibit is actually pretty informative.
The scientists behind the exhibit have used a complicated process called polymer preservation to turn the remains of actual humans (who may or may not have been interested in lending their bodies to science) into skinless teaching mannequins that show us how the body functions and how it reacts to outside stimuli. That's where the exhibit is at its best. The smoker's lung on display shouts out the dangers of cigarettes louder than any surgeon general's warning.
At times, the exhibit is almost pretty. In the pulmonary section, I felt like I was in an aquarium when examining a tree-like display of the blood vessels in lungs. For a moment, the lungs didn't look like creepy body parts, but instead like the complex organisms that they are.
The exhibit is pricey -- $26.50 for adults and that fee doesn't include the use of the helpful audio guide. It'll be in Rosslyn for a six-month run, and if your stomach can handle it, you just might learn something. For a preview of the show, check out our photo gallery. Post.com is also hosting a live discussion with the scientist behind the exhibit at noon on Wednesday, April 18.
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