Body Worlds Vital

BODY WORLDS Vital World Premiere!
Ended April 24, 2011

BODY WORLDS Vital will be open to midnight Saturday, April 23, 2011. Hurry. Must end April 24, 2011.
BODY WORLDS Vital, in its first-ever showing, celebrates the potential of the human body and the body in motion. This new exhibition is designed to show visitors the essentials for human health and wellness by contrasting healthy bodies to ones that have succumbed to a host of illnesses and medical conditions. The exhibit tells the compelling story of how best to defeat life-threatening diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease through informed choices and lifestyle changes.

Physician and anatomist Gunther von Hagens' BODY WORLDS exhibitions are the original, precedent-setting public anatomical exhibitions of real human bodies, and the only anatomical exhibits that use donated bodies, willed by donors, for the express purpose of serving BODY WORLDS' mission to educate the public about health and anatomy. The bodies are preserved through a remarkable process called Plastination enabling visitors to learn what lies beneath the skin.

Exhibition

Ended April 24, 2011.

BODY WORLDS Vital, in its first-ever showing, celebrates the potential of the human body and the body in motion. Featuring authentic human bodies, the exhibition shows the body in health, distress and disease. These detailed anatomical studies, compositions, and representations allow visitors a penetrating gaze at what lies beneath the skin.

The human body is built for action and experience. Intricately formed for optimal functioning, the living body is designed for survival, striving, and achievement.

This new exhibition is designed to show visitors the essentials for human health and wellness by contrasting healthy bodies to ones that have succumbed to a host of illnesses and medical conditions.

The exhibition tells the compelling story of how best to defeat life-threatening diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease through informed choices and lifestyle changes.

Physician and anatomist Gunther von Hagens' BODY WORLDS exhibitions are the original, precedent-setting public anatomical exhibitions of real human bodies, and the only anatomical exhibits that use donated bodies, willed by donors, for the express purpose of serving BODY WORLDS' mission to educate the public about health and anatomy. The bodies are preserved through a remarkable process called Plastination enabling visitors to learn what lies beneath the skin.

Don't miss the latest chapter of the BODY WORLDS saga, the trailblazing anatomical exhibitions seen by more than 32 million visitors worldwide.

See How Far Your Body Can Take You.

Overview

Exhibition Ended April 24, 2011.
The History of Plastination - From Notion to Invention

In July 1977, while working as a scientist and research assistant at the University of Heidelberg's Institute of Pathology and Anatomy, Dr. Gunther von Hagens had an outrageous notion. "I was looking at a collection of specimens embedded in plastic. It was the most advanced preservation technique then, where the specimens rested deep inside a transparent plastic block. I wondered why the plastic was poured and then cured around the specimens, rather than pushed into the cells, which would stabilize the specimens from within and literally allow you to grasp it."

The notion was an epiphany for Dr. von Hagens, and the genesis of Plastination-his groundbreaking invention where all bodily fluids and soluble fat from anatomical specimens are extracted to stop decomposition, and replaced through vacuum-forced impregnation with reactive resins and elastomers, such as silicon rubber and epoxy that harden with gas, light, or heat curing, giving the specimens rigidity and permanence.

Weeks later, while preparing serial slices of human kidneys for a research project, another thought occurred to him as he embedded the kidney slices in liquid plexiglass, and watched the air bubbles that resulted from stirring the hardener that had to be extracted under vacuum. "It crossed my mind that it would be possible to impregnate an acetone soaked renal piece with plastic under vacuum conditions simply by extracting the acetone in the form of bubbles, just as is done in degassing." Though many acetone bubbles were extracted from the specimen, it shriveled into a black mass within the hour.

But Dr. von Hagens was undeterred by the result of his maiden voyage into the world of Plastination. His basic knowledge of physics and chemistry enabled him to conclude that the black coloration stemmed from the refractive qualities of the plexiglass, and that the shrinkage was due to the accelerated speed of the impregnation process. This realization prompted him to repeat the experiment a week later using liquid silicone rubber that had more favorable light refractive properties. He administered the impregnation slowly, pouring fresh silicon in three separate baths to avoid premature hardening of the silicon and specimen from exposure to air. After curing the specimen in the open air, von Hagens held in his hands the world's first plastinate.

In March of 1978, Dr. von Hagens filed a patent for his invention with the German Patent Office. However, he had only scratched the surface of Plastination. The refinement of his invention and the creation of the first whole body plastinate would take thirteen more years, though he declares even now that his methods are not yet perfect.

During his experiments, Dr. von Hagens sought the counsel of other scientists when he faced obstacles in his experiments. Dr. Wolfgang Koser, a distinguished polymer scientist, then head of the Reaction Resin Application Technology Department at BASF AG in Ludwigshafen, Germany, was Dr. von Hagens' closest adviser during his initial discovery. "He showed me organs and tissue parts that had been impregnated with synthetic resins but that did not satisfy his expectations and requirements. Considering the usually poor knowledge in the field of polymer chemistry to be found in physicians, the specimens were surprisingly well done," writes Dr. Koser. He offered von Hagens technical advise on the proper processing of synthetic resins-how to overcome difficulties related to hardening of resins in a wet environment and inside the fine blood vessels. Intrigued by the idea of working with 'an extremely motivated, highly innovative, unconventional and yet very personable scientist,' Dr. Koser offered to work with von Hagens in his lab on the weekends.

Like all pioneering scientific discoveries, Plastination had its fair share of spectacular failures before yielding success. Klaus Tiedemann, then a professor at the Institute of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Heidelberg, and a colleague of Dr. von Hagens, bore witness to some of them. He remembers a day at the lab, when von Hagens tried to operate a vacuum chamber made from stainless steel plates welded together. "A safety glass about an inch thick served as its cover. When the vacuum had reached about one tenth of normal atmospheric pressure, the plate glass, which had bent considerably by then, burst with the sound of a hand grenade and covered us with glass crumbs," he writes.

Despite many setbacks, Dr. von Hagens persevered with what had become his professional and personal obsession. In 1981, he filed his patent for "Animal and Vegetal Tissues Permanently Preserved by Synthetic Resin Impregnation," with the US Patent Office. In quick succession, Dr. von Hagens published several academic papers about his invention, and established BIODUR, a business to market the essential ingredients and formulas for Plastination to 400 medical schools and universities worldwide. He also founded the Institute for Plastination, and eventually created the BODY WORLDS anatomical exhibits.

With Plastination, Dr. von Hagens has irrevocably changed the traditional field of anatomy and its audience. "The purpose of Plastination from its very inception was a scientific one, to educate medical students. But the interest of lay people in the plastinated specimens inspired me think of public exhibitions, which was followed by the realization that I had to offer a heightened sense of aesthetics to avoid shocking the public and to capture their imagination," says Dr. Von Hagens.

Since 1996, more than 32 million people around the world have viewed the BODY WORLDS exhibitions.

Pricing

Exhibition ended April 24, 2011.

Please read some important ticketing information.
 
Hours are: Monday to Wednesday: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Thursday to Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
 
BODY WORLDS Vital
Public
Members 
Audio Tour
(add on)
IMAX® Film
(add on)

Adults (18 - 64)

$19.00

$10.00

$5.00

$5.00

Child (3-17)

$12.00

$8.00

$5.00

$5.00

Senior (65+)/ College Student (with ID)

$17.00

$10.00

$5.00

$5.00

Members save 40% on tickets! Interested in becoming a member? Learn about our benefits.

To qualify for group rates, you must have a minimum of 10 people. Please read some important ticketing information.
 

Groups

Adult Groups

$14.00

Child Groups / K-12 School

$8.00

College Students with ID/Seniors 65+ Groups

$14.00

Advance ticketing strongly recommended.

Timed tickets are used for this exhibition.

BODY WORLDS Vital is recommended for children 10 and above, and parents, educators or chaperones should accompany all children.

Please note: The whole body specimens are without skin so you can see the bones, muscles, tendons, nerves, blood vessels and organs. Eyes and genitals of the bodies remain.

Note: No photography. No cell phones. No Food. No refunds.

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING BEFORE YOU PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS:

  • Re-entry is NOT allowed

  • Last timed-ticket is 60 minutes before closing.

  • Tickets sold online are non-refundable, non-transferable and non-adjustable.

  • You must select show and/or exhibit times when purchasing, and your ticket is only valid for the date and times you select.

  • Please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your selected entry time.

  • Recommended viewing time is 1 hour.

  • If you plan to see an IMAXTM film, choose a time slot before your scheduled BODY WORLDS viewing.

  • Your ticket will be emailed to you once you complete your transaction for entry.

Education

Ended on April 24, 2011.

BODY WORLDS Vital offers you and your students the rare opportunity to uncover the incredible beauty and complexity of the human body, beneath the skin! Give them a lesson they will never forget!
 
BODY WORLDS Vital, in its first-ever showing, celebrates the potential of the human body and the body in motion. Featuring authentic human bodies, the exhibition shows the body in health, distress and disease. The human body is built for action and experience. Intricately formed for optimal functioning, the living body is designed for survival, striving, and achievement.
 
This new exhibition is designed to show visitors the essentials for human health and wellness by contrasting healthy bodies to ones that have succumbed to a host of illnesses and medical conditions. These detailed anatomical studies, compositions, and representations allow visitors a penetrating gaze at what lies beneath the skin. The exhibition tells the compelling story of how best to defeat life-threatening diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease through informed choices and lifestyle changes.
 
Students will be inspired to assert themselves and to claim responsibility for their own health and well being. Physician and anatomist Gunther von Hagens' BODY WORLDS exhibitions are the original, precedent-setting public anatomical exhibitions of real human bodies, and the only anatomical exhibits that use donated bodies, willed by donors, for the express purpose of serving BODY WORLDS' mission to educate the public about health and anatomy. The bodies are preserved through a remarkable process called Plastination enabling visitors to learn what lies beneath the skin.
 
BODY WORLDS Vital meets California curriculum standards. BODY WORLDS Vital complements The Tech Museum's permanent galleries focused on medical technologies, biotech, and genetics.
 

Book a Field Trip for your Class!

Only $8 per person.
Includes admission to The Tech Museum.
Audio Guides are available for $4 per person
Call 408-294-8324 to reserve your field trip.
Download Free BODY WORLDS Student Guides
 
 

Complement your BODY WORLDS Vital Experience 

See The Human Body for only $4 more each in The Hackworth IMAX Theater
Title 1 schools qualify for fee-waived IMAX.
The Human Body (45 minutes) looks at the biological processes that happen without our control and often without our notice. Topics include human reproduction from conception through birth.
 

Note to Educators 

The whole body specimens are without skin so you can see the bones, muscles, tendons, nerves, blood vessels, and organs. Eyes and genitals of the bodies remain. We have ensured that any of our visitors who do not wish to see BODY WORLDS will still be able to visit the permanent regular galleries without viewing any part of this exhibition.

Press Room

Exhibition ended April 24, 2011.

 

Contacts

Roqua Montez
Director of Public Relations
The Tech Museum
(408) 795-6225
 
Gail Hamburg
Director of Communications
Gunther von Hagens’ BODY WORLDS
(312) 602-5369
 

Press Releases

 

Biographies

 
BODY WORLDS Vital is aligned with museum's mission to provide science and technology experiences that educate, inform, provoke thought, and inspire action.
 

See How Far Your Body Can Take You.

Exhibit Hours

 
Open Daily
10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Last tickets sold 60 minutes prior to closing.

Community

     

In Association with

The Human Body in The Hackworth IMAX Dome Theater

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