Because for the last two months the weather in England has been not very generous with the sunshine and warm temperatures, I’ve been spending most of my weekends indoors. But instead of turning into a couch potato, I have been visiting museum after museum and a variety of exhibitions. Last weekend I went to see the new exhibition at Natural History Museum called Animal Inside Out by Gunther von Hagnes. This controversial German anatomist invented the technique for preserving biological tissue specimens called plastination. In effect the human or animal bodies are so well preserved that the entire body organs can be seen just the way they were at the time of a person or animal’s death.
Gunther von Hagens became famous after the Body Worlds exhibition, which presents the preserved human bodies and body parts. The exhibition has caused some controversy and debate focused on various issues. Religious groups, including representatives of the Catholic Church and some Jewish rabbis have objected to the display of human remains, stating that it is inconsistent with reverence towards the human body. The exhibition travels across the globe and includes the couple having sex and a comparison of lungs of a smoker and non-smoker.
Lately, Gunther von Hagnes have introduced the same process but to the animal world and created the Animal Inside Out exhibition, which includes nearly hundred plastinated animals and capillary specimens displaying the intricate insides and inner workings of some of the world’s most spectacular creatures, including sharks and an elephant.
I found the exhibition very interesting and would love to see the Body Worlds in the future as well. For some it might be too much. But I think the inner body parts have always been a bit neglected on the biology classes for the sheer reason that you cannot go any further than cutting the frogs ; ) so I think Mr Gunther von Hagens did great job in filling the gap in our lives in that respect. I especially liked the fact that the exhibition was visited by the whole families including small children, who are just at the beginning of their learning curve.
Let me know your thoughts on the exhibition. Here are some of the pieces.