We breathe about 20,000 breaths each day and it takes 15 muscles just to create a smile. Amazing. These are just a few interesting and vital facts presented at the Body Worlds VITAL exhibition now on display at the Providence Museum Gallery located at the Rhode Island Convention Center. Being (a little more) curious about cadavers, I headed into the exhibit with some hesitation but geared up with the audio tour and found it beneficial. Entering the gallery, signage graced the wall explaining that the bodies donated for this exhibit were intended for scientific study and education. Continuing on, visitors are met with tasteful artistic torso casts indicating how noticeably different we all are.
The exhibit continues with a case-enclosed skeleton with labeled bones. This brought me back to my early college days of Biology 101. I remembered some, but not all. Moving along, there are bodies in frozen states of motion complete with a soccer ball and gymnast balanced on a beam. Shocking, but extremely fascinating. One specimen is holding its skin, the largest organ in the body. Veins, nerves and tendons are clearly visible and labeled. The neck muscles surprised me because I never was aware of all the connections between the neck and the head and body. Remarkable.
The exhibit is filled with videos, photos and a few cases of dissected organs and joints. One interesting case exposes artificial and mechanical devices surgically added to the body for the purpose of replacing a decaying limb or joint.
The bodies in the exhibit have been Plastinated, a process created in Heidelberg, Germany, by Dr. Gunther von Hagens. It takes roughly a year to process each specimen.
There are large quotes sprinkled around the exhibit reminding us of how delicate and pleasurable life can be.
“The energy of the mind is the essence of life” – Aristotle
Toward the end of the exhibit is an interactive piece: a blood pressure machine, which serves as a reminder of how our busy lives, access to processed foods and sedentary lifestyle can affect blood pressure.
Before reaching the end, visitors are met with another large poster with the title “What the World Eats.” Photographs from around the globe line the walls displaying families seated in their kitchen with a week’s worth of food. I found the different natural and processed choices in each region interesting.
I left the exhibition more aware that the body is a mechanical form always working at its best. As a result of my time there, I will focus more on my activity and nutrition! My visit was well worth the experience.
The exhibit runs until January 17, 2017, at the Rhode Island Convention Center, 1 Sabin St, Providence. Call for ticket information; 844-253-4840, or visit online at BodyWorldsRI.com