Check out that ‘Body’

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By D.J. Jimenez

Explore the universe within through a new exhibit at the Witte Museum.

“Totally awesome,” freshman premed David Hernandez raved at the Witte Museum exhibition “Our Body: The Universe Within.” “It was a great experience to get to see the human body outside of its flesh. To see an actual human body rather than the usual mannequins or even a book is worth the price of admission. I highly recommend for people to go see this. It’s worth it.”

The exhibit opens with a wall of historical facts that welcomes people with some nuggets of knowledge that set the tone for the inside human body experience. 

In the year 300, Herophilus and Erasistratus opened the first medical school in Alexandria, Egypt, for autopsies of cadavers for anatomical research, according to the museum materials.

Past the wall of medical history, a group of observers admire a fully intact human body with its muscles articulated to give the impression of a man riding a bicycle.

“Absolutely fascinating,” said Dr. Irene Chapa of the University of Texas Health Science Center and honored guest of the exhibit for her expertise in human anatomy.

Another display that caught an abundance of attention was a glass case of two sets of lungs. 

One set depicted a prototypical healthy set of lungs versus a set that had been ravaged by lung cancer.

“How awful,” Arnold Dill said in reaction to the shocking consequences of smoking. 

 A medical fact looms over the withered lung stating that 90 percent of all lung cancer cases are caused by cigarettes.

Suspended one foot from the ground and surrounded by a glass case, a human body stripped of all its muscles, tissue, organs and bones hovers in the center of the cardiovascular room of the exhibit.

Leaving only a system of capillaries, veins and arteries that gives the illusion of a human silhouette constructed of thin red string.

Consisting of an astonishing 18 human bodies donated by the Chinese government and around 100 anatomical specimens, the Universe Within astounds viewers with scientific elegance. 

Of course, the exhibit would not have been possible without the breakthrough discovery of polymer impregnation or plastination process that replaces the human body’s water and fat with pliable plastics.

This preservation process allows for human specimens to be articulated in certain poses with no risk of odor or decomposition. 

It is this process that enables the general public to examine firsthand the intricate workings of the human anatomy.

“Since San Antonio is a city of a lot of people, people should be concerned about their health. I feel that this will really open their eyes to live healthier lives and see for themselves how fragile the human body is,” said Marise McDermott, museum president and CEO.

“Everything you see here, I feel can be applied to live healthier lives, although I caution adult supervision if children were to attend the exhibit.”

“Our Body: The Universe Within” is open from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturdays during February, weekends March-May,  spring break March 17-21, and May 21-26 at 3801 Broadway.


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