Baring it all
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It's fair to say Witte Museum's latest exhibit isn't what Cole Porter had in mind when he wrote I've Got You Under My Skin. A romantic notion in a popular song gives way to eye-opening reality in this museum show made up of preserved, skinless and colorised cadavers and body parts.
"Our Body: The Universe Within," has been a blockbuster at other venues before it opened in San Antonio's Witte
"It's an amazing way to appreciate the human body," said Dr Irene Chapa, director of the office of recruitment and science outreach at the University of Texas Health Science Centre. "But it's not like going to see a painting. These were people that were really living and breathing just like you and I."
Typically limited to inspection by anatomists, physicians and medical school students, the universe that lies under the skin should come as a thrill and a shock in "Our Body."
Jeff Stanford, public relations director at Orlando Science Centre, which presented "Our Body" to record crowds last year, said the exhibit is "not built for shock. It's more respectful. Initially, I was a little squeamish because I'm not a fan of the autopsy shows. You're just struck by the reality of it. This is the human body. This is what I look like without my skin."
"Our Body" features preserved human bodies displayed in various stages of dissection, some posed to simulate movement—for example, on a bicycle.
The donated specimens originated in China. Polymer impregnation, sometimes called plastination, makes it possible. Because of the process of replacing fluids with a liquid plastic, the bodies and specimens on view do not decompose, and there is no odour. The exhibit features 12 bodies and 75 anatomical specimens. Visitors will learn about different anatomical systems: muscular, skeletal, circulatory, nervous, digestive, respiratory, reproductive and excretory.
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