Review of BODY WORLDS London

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Reviewed by: Mojomums Amanda

What they say: BODY WORLDS London is now open creating a permanent London flagship for the world’s most popular touring exhibition in the magnificent London Pavilion. The fusion of science, art and health education is one of the biggest new UK attractions to open in the past decade and will be open all 365 days of the year.

Created by Dr Gunther von Hagens and his co-director and wife Dr Angelina Whalley, the museum represents a chance to make the most detailed ever journey around the human body, and features real bodies and body parts donated to be preserved by Dr von Hagens’ patented ‘plastination’ technique, which replaces fat and water in cells with complex synthetics.

BODY WORLDS London’s 25 full body plastinates will display a range of movements and activities to show exactly how the muscles work in different ways. Among the exhibition’s full-body plasinates, as they are known, are The Rearing Horse and Rider (a shire horse rearing up on its hind legs with its rider, showing the anatomical difference between animal and human), the Split Jumper (a gymnast caught in mid-air doing a spread-eagle jump), a tennis player (3 cross sections attempting a half-volley), a relay runner (posed mid-handover to display the human muscular system) and the Poker Playing Trio famously seen in the James Bond film Casino Royale.

What we say: “I had seen the exhibition 10 years ago when it first was first shown in London and was excited to see it again, but I was unsure as to what my two sons aged 8 and 11 would make of it. One was going with the view that it was weird, the other with curiosity. On entering the exhibition you are given a audio set to guide you through, some parts come on automatically, some you have to point and click which was perfect for my sons as they could take onboard as little or as much information as they wished. The first exhibit we saw resulted in lots of giggles as the boys took in the various parts of the body, but once this had surpassed they were fully absorbed in the exhibition. They were in awe of the skill involved to display the various parts of the human body and soon forgot that they were looking at real people.

I still recall vividly from my previous visit when I was actually pregnant myself the foetuses and had decided in advance to skip this, but the boys were curious and so we went in which was an eyeopener for me as it made me look at the marvel of life though their eyes not as the fragility of a mother who could only think of the sadness that those babies we were looking at did not live. The boys instead were utterly fascinated at the formation of a baby at just five weeks and then how they developed thought the gestation period. This section, to my surprise was their favourite as they found it completely memorising and could relate to it more than maybe other parts of the exhibition through the fascination of this is how they both grew inside me.

The exhibition also has many interactive stations which often had a little queue but were thoughtfully placed so you could measure your stress for example or your blood pressure shortly after reading the effects that these play on daily life and ultimately death. One of the last and most impressive works was a full size horse and its rider showing the similarities of our make up which we all spent some time looking at.

Overall, we were at the exhibition for nearly two hours and discussed what we had seen for many hours afterwards. Sadly I was unable to take photograph’s but there are lots online should you wish to see what the exhibition is about. I would say the age of suitability really depends on the child. There were a lot of children at the exhibition ranging across a wide age span but I can appreciate that it’s not for everyone. We however, all found it fascinating and I think my children definitely have a better understanding of their bodies and how the impact of our lifestyle choices affect them. I still found it incredible; the intricate work and time that would go into each display and also couldn’t help but try to imagine the person and characters behind each display and what made them want to be immortalised in this way. A thought provoking and educational visit that we all thoroughly enjoyed.”


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