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Bodies Revealed Unveiled

One of the full size bodies displayed in the 'Bodies Revealed' exhibit. Most of the bodies are partially open to expose the internal organs.

The Bodies Revealed exhibit opened this past weekend and is already drawing crowds to the Grand Rapids Public Museum. The exhibit will be there through the spring.

“The Museum hosts around 250,000 people a year,” said Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations Kate Kocienski. “We expect a good chunk of that number to come for the Bodies Revealed exhibit.” 

The exhibit displays 10 full-size real bodies that have basically been preserved through a process of coating in plastic to delay or stop deterioration. The exhibit also includes more than a hundred organs from unnamed donors. 

Here is an example of a process called corrosion casting where the blood vessels are injected with dye post-mortem. The different colors can help educate the flow of air or blood in the body.

The Bodies Revealed exhibit was at the same museum 10 years ago, with a few differences. The exhibit and specifically the creator of plastination brought some bad press to the museum then. This time around, the exhibit has not been protested. 

The opening of the exhibit on Nov. 16 sold out, according to WZZM 13. It was also highly attended when the exhibit was in town a decade ago. 

“In 165 years at the museum, nothing was more visited than the Dead Sea Scrolls,” Kocienski said.  “No. 2 is probably Bodies Revealed, though.” 

“We expect a similar amount of attendees or more due to the growing medical science field in GR,” said Kocienski.

There are brief descriptions of all the body parts next to their displays, as well as labels on certain parts of the body parts. 

A body is separated into over 20 cross sections so each part can be seen from virtually every angle.

For even more information than what is visually represented, there are two separate $5 audio tours for children and adults.

There are a couple parts of the learning experience that may cause even the tougher visitors to feel a little faint.

There are multiple fetuses that didn’t make it to full term preserved in plastic, a black lung-layered with melanoma and tar, and on the weekends, there are sometimes even ‘touch-it’ exhibitions. 

“We’re trying to book every weekend from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. with a professional or med school student who can manage the ‘touch-it’ station,” Kocienski said.