So Valentines day was spent oogling the amazing specimens displayed in the Ambassador theatre, The Human Body exhibition!
For those of you that aren’t familiar, the now world famous Anatomist Gunther Von Hagens created this process called Plastination to permanently preserve the dissected bodies that are on display in the theatre and around the world. It’s incredible work, and seeing it for your own eyes is truly astonishing. Before we entered the rooms there was a notice on the wall saying;
”The exhibition presents carefully dissected real human body specimens. Each specimen prepared in a process called Plastination is posed in a familiar non-threatening manner and illustrates the anatomy and physiology of the life-sustaining system in your body”
Dublin’s exhibit was impeccable. There were nine rooms in which each had a different purpose, in correct order; skeletal, muscles, nervous system, cardiovascular, respiratory system, digestive system, reproductive systems, foetal growth and integumentary. Each room was clearly and cleanly laid out with large display cases containing organs and the dissected body parts. The free standing bodies were displayed in different familiar poses, such as running football poses or sitting down ‘reading’. There was a strange smell I couldn’t place but Shane said it smelt like Church, which is something I really am not familiar with at all!
The (few) things that unsettled me slightly were only two things. One being this photo above, seeing the veins surrounding the skull and temples like that made feel a little quesey. The second quesey experience was in the foetal development room, seeing an undeveloped baby skull and the tiny respiratory system was something that made me well up a bit, realising what I was looking at was in fact, real. It took me a while to get my head around the idea that the specimens we were viewing were real, it was just an immediate reaction to instantly believe everything was fake.
Surprisingly enough the cancerous organs like the Lungs or Colon did not shock me. The lungs just looked like fillets of fish too me! It was interesting seeing other people’s reactions to the blackened lungs, ‘that’s so sick’ was overheard. Seeing the knee joint sliced like a slab of meat made me appreciate being Vegetarian, not that human flesh had anything to do with my previous carnivore feeding history but the bodies sliced up were quite unappealing to view. Without trying to sound too graphic, the cancerous organs displayed were dark in colour as a posed to its usual light pink/cream colour, resembling something like rotten meat, dark and grey in colour.
Getting away from the graphic details.. Just as I was hoping this exhibition filled me in on plenty of facts I did not know previously. We spent our time inside filling up our brains with just enough new facts to tip us over for another while. Here’s some of my favourites;
- The earliest documented occurrence of a foetus yawning is at 11wks after conception.
- 90% of diseases are stress related.
- Children’s bones grow faster in the springtime.
- Humans and Giraffes have the same number of vertebrae in their necks.
- The knee joint is the most complicated joint in your body
Initially, my heart sank when I found out about the no camera rule. The idea of having such photos to keep excited me and I wanted to document it too my full advantage. So I took my notebook in with me and jotted down just about everything (its thanks to my notes I can write this post!) Once inside I was glad of the no camera rule, it allowed me to fully immerse myself into the specimens, read a million and one information sheets and stare so much at the bodies that I was full sure they would blink back at me. I know if I had brought my camera in I would have been so focused on filling an entire memory cards worth of pictures that I would not have let it all sink in and appreciate the exhibition as much as I did that day. Although, having my picture taken next to a dissected human would have been a good Facebook profiler. (no?!)
Overall the experience was fascinating, one I will never forget. It was well worth the 20euro entry fee. I found it extremely educational and learnt so much more that I didn’t know from before. I was in constant awe, having the chance to have a real look inside the human body and see every nook and cranny under our skin through the process of preservation. It was an amazing insight and I thoroughly recommend going to see it if you can.