The Real Bodies Exhibit may actually be my very first memory of wanting to know more about the human body. As a little girl in 2001, I can remember seeing the Exhibition by Gunter Von Hagens on the breakfast news; one of the first exhibits to be shown at the recently repurposed Millennium Dome in London. I didn’t get a chance to go in 2001, so when I saw the show was coming to Birmingham, I desperately wanted to go!
17 years and a whole world tour later, and the show is still an incredible display of anatomy. The plastination processing on the cadaver bodies and samples preserves the finest anatomical details – blood vessels, nerves, and even some tiny traces of eyelashes can be seen on the specimens. Muscles and connective tissues have colour added again at the end of the process to give more obvious structure to the untrained eye, but some tissues have more obvious discrepancies.
One of the most fascinating parts of the exhibit is a comparison between the lungs of a smoker and a non-smoker. The smoker’s heart and lungs had grown massive and bobbly with the effort of respiring against the smoke; and even more striking – they were completely black. They look more like something from the bottom of the fire place than an organ from a human body!
I don’t think you need a background in medicine or anatomy to appreciate the exhibition. If anything it will give you a real appreciation for the structure we have to live in.
Real Bodies: The Exhibition is on at the NEC until the 19th August
For more information visit their website by clicking here.