Frequently asked questions

What is BODY WORLDS?

BODY WORLDS is the first exhibition of its kind to inform visitors about anatomy, physiology, and health by viewing real human bodies. The specimens on display were preserved through Plastination, the preservation process invented by Dr. von Hagens in 1977, while he was working as an anatomist at the University of Heidelberg.

Since the beginning of the exhibition series in Japan in 1995 more than 43 million visitors in over 100 cities in Europe, America, Africa and Asia have seen the world’s most successful special exhibition.

What does BODY WORLDS show?

Each BODY WORLDS exhibition contains real human specimens, including full-body plastinates as well as individual organs, organ configurations, and transparent body slices. The spectacular plastinates in the exhibition take the visitor on an exciting journey of discovery under the skin. It provides a comprehensive insight into the anatomy and physiology of the human body. In addition to organ functions, common diseases are described in an easily understood manner by comparing healthy and affected organs. They show the long-term impact of diseases and addictions, such as tobacco or alcohol consumption, and demonstrate the mechanics of artificial knee and hip joints.

What is the goal of the exhibition?

BODY WORLDS aims to educate the public about the inner workings of the human body and show the effects of poor health, good health, and lifestyle choices. It is also presented in the hopes that it will motivate visitors to learn more about the science of anatomy and physiology.

Who should see the exhibition?

Anyone interested in learning what makes us human. Adults of all ages and children will find the exhibits fascinating. Given the nature of the BODY WORLDS exhibits, it is up to parents, guardians, or school staff to decide whether BODY WORLDS is appropriate for the children in their care.

Is this exhibition appropriate for children?

More than 43 million people, including young children have viewed the BODY WORLDS exhibitions around the world. If you are considering bringing children or school groups to BODY WORLDS, visit our online resources section to find out how to use the exhibition as a learning experience.

Where else has BODY WORLDS been exhibited?

There are 11 BODY WORLDS exhibitions, including ANIMAL INSIDE OUT, which have been viewed by more than 43 million people throughout the world. BODY WORLDS exhibitions have been displayed in Europe, America, Africa and Asia. Additional BODY WORLDS exhibitions are planned. If you would like to know in what cities the exhibitions will be on display next, please go to our official web site, www.bodyworlds.com, where you will find an overview of future exhibition venues. If you are interested in additional information about BODY WORLDS current exhibitions and more, you may join our Facebook community.

Why is it important for the public to see these exhibition?

The organizers of BODY WORLDS believe that when people understand more about how the body works and how it can break down, they are more likely to choose healthy and sustainable lifestyles. They also hope it will inspire visitors to learn more about the life sciences. Knowledge about what the human body looks like and how it functions is basic life science information that should be available to everyone.

What is plastination?

Plastination is a unique process invented by Dr. Gunther von Hagens in 1977 to preserve specimens for medical education. The process replaces bodily fluids and fat in specimens with fluid plastics that harden after so-called vacuum-forced impregnation. After the bodies are shaped into lifelike poses, they are hardened with gas, heat, or light. The plastinates show how our bodies move in everyday life, as well as during athletic activities. For more information about Plastination, go to www.bodyworlds.com.

Why are the plastinates posed the way they are?

The poses of the plastinates have been carefully thought out and serve educational aims. Each plastinate is posed to illustrate different anatomical features. For instance, the athletic poses illustrate the use of muscle systems while playing sports. The poses are chosen to highlight specific anatomical features and allow the visitor to relate the plastinate to his or her own body.

What educational materials are provided?

Teachers should prepare their colleagues and students for their BODY WORLDS experience.

Have the ethical questions concerning this exhibition been addressed?

Before the North American premiere of BODY WORLDS, a wide committee of theologians, ethicists, academics, and medical experts thoroughly discussed the ethical questions. Guided by the California Science Center, Los Angeles, they wrote an Ethics Review of the origins of bodies in BODY WORLDS. It can be downloaded from our website www.bodyworlds.com.

Will I able to touch any of the plastinates?

While you will be able to get very close to the plastinates, as a rule, visitors are not allowed to touch them.

Can you take photos or films in the exhibition?

Photography and filming, including pictures taken with cell phones, are not allowed in the BODY WORLDS exhibitions, except by accredited members of the media.

How long can you stay in the exibits?

You can stay as long as you like, within the opening hours. We recommend allowing yourself about one to two hours. The length of time will vary on how long each visitor wishes to examine each specimen and read the information provided. Re-entry to the exhibition is not allowed, once you exit.