Health Museum Hosts Blockbuster Bodies … The Exhibition, Spring 2006


HOUSTON, Dec. 30 /PRNewswire/ — The John P. McGovern Museum of Health & Medical Science today announced that, in association with Premier Exhibitions, Inc., Jam Exhibitions and Concert Productions International, it will host Premier’s blockbuster exhibition featuring real human bodies. The first of its kind to be showcased in Houston, BODIES … The Exhibition will open in early Spring 2006 at the Health Museum, which is located at 1515 Hermann Drive in Houston’s Museum District. The exhibition will showcase 20 whole-body specimens and more than 250 organs and partial body specimens and will give visitors the opportunity to see human bodies in a fascinating way they never have before. These meticulously dissected whole-body specimens will show Museum visitors exactly ‘what lies beneath’ and the complex systems involved in the activities that are a part of daily life.

“Your body is the only thing that you carry with you from the moment you are born until your last breath. Yet we know surprisingly little about ourselves,” said Dr. Roy Glover, Professor Emeritus of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Michigan and Chief Medical Director for the Exhibition, a medical educator with more than 30 years of experience. “For centuries, this world has been off-limits to the public — open only to doctors and medical professionals. Now, for the first time, we are pulling back the curtain and allowing the public to see it for themselves, up-close and personal. Have you ever wondered what’s underneath your skin? After seeing this exhibition, you will finally know. The body doesn’t lie.”

BODIES … The Exhibition will utilize approximately 20,000-square-foot of exhibit space, showcasing the eye-opening effects of obesity on the human body through authentic human bodies of those who damaged their organs due to over- eating and lack of exercise. The exhibition also features a healthy lung and a black lung ravaged by smoking side by side in a vivid comparison that is undeniably more powerful than any textbook image. In addition to providing an up-close look inside our skeletal, muscular, respiratory and circulatory systems, the exhibition encourages healthy lifestyle choices by serving as a wake-up call demonstrating how our own choices directly affect our health. The exhibition will change the way people see themselves. It is designed to enlighten, empower, fascinate and inspire.

The human body specimens in the exhibition are preserved through a revolutionary technique called polymer preservation. In this process, human tissue is permanently preserved using liquid silicone rubber that is treated and hardened. The end result is a rubberized specimen, preserved to the cellular level, showcasing the complexity of the body’s many bones, muscles, nerves, blood vessels and organs. The full-body specimens can take more than a year to prepare. After undergoing the polymer preservation process, they become impervious to decomposition.

This announcement comes on the heels of a highly successful year for the John P. McGovern Museum of Health & Medical Science. The Museum met and exceeded aggressive goals earlier this year, which included surpassing fundraising targets, an increase of nearly 50 percent in new membership growth and an increase in overall Museum attendance. In September of this year, the Museum welcomed new Chief Executive Officer, Tadd M. Pullin, who built an aggressive business plan that includes launch of a new brand campaign in the spring of 2006, new permanent exhibits and a series of collaborative efforts, one of which is Bodies … The Exhibition.

“This is our mission — this is what we do each and every day. Our goal is to inspire and educate children and adults about their bodies and their health in a unique fashion. Since this Museum was founded in 1996, the Texas Medical Center and its constituency have supported our efforts to be a vehicle through which some of the world’s finest health institutions can educate families on health, wellness and the science of life and taking care of themselves. When we began discussions months ago with Premier Exhibitions to bring Bodies … The Exhibition to Houston, our Board of Directors, which is largely comprised of leading TMC executives and professionals, expressed a strong interest in this exhibition.”

Sue Trammell Whitfield, President of the Museum’s Board of Directors said of this news, “A unique aspect of our Museum is the medical expertise we have supporting our exhibits and program development. Leadership of the medical community involved with our Museum serves as a halo of credibility over our health science education initiatives.”

The Museum’s Board of Directors also includes such health system leaders as University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Executive Vice President for External Affairs Dr. Carlos Hamilton, Jr., who is also the Museum’s incoming Board President, and Dr. Kenneth Mattox, Professor and Vice Chair of the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine.

Dr. Hamilton announced, “This museum already represents a national model for health and medical science museums, and it is one of the few institutions in the country focused solely on quality health education for the general public. As longtime partners with the Museum, we are delighted that this intriguing exhibition, which provides a unique and educational perspective on the inner workings of the human body, will be showcased in an environment that has nurtured health education from its inception.”

Dr. Mattox also remarked on the quality of the incoming exhibit and its potential impact for the greater Houston community.

“Every person is concerned about their own body and its continuing health. This exciting exhibit is a ‘MUST SEE’ activity for anyone who wishes to know more about the human body. With great skill, and the greatest of professionalism and ethics considerations, these real human bodies have been displayed to create an understanding of form, function and action. Amazingly, each exhibit is arranged so that an educational interaction is possible for the grade school student as well as the busy professional. Every Houstonian will want to visit this wonderful exhibit early after its opening, and many will find that they will come back again and again to discover many fine new fountains of information and to learn more about health, wellness and the anatomic realities of their own interaction with the medical profession.”

The Harris County Medical Society also served as a catalyst for this step in the Museum’s history. President Robert C. Vanzant, M.D. extended his support and cooperation for the new exhibition and expansion.

“The Harris County Medical Society has long enjoyed a collaborative relationship with the Museum, and we know that this step in the Museum’s history will strengthen its ability to benefit our community and support the medical profession. We offer our congratulations and advocacy,” said Dr. Vanzant in recent correspondence.

Tickets to BODIES … The Exhibition tickets will be available at http://www.bodiestickets.com/ beginning in January. The exhibition will be open 7 days a week, from 9AM – 9PM Monday – Sunday. For more information on the Museum, visit http://www.museumofhealth.org/ .

Premier Exhibitions, Inc. is not affiliated with any other organizer of human anatomy exhibitions, including Gunther von Hagens, Gerhard Perner, or Genlife Biomedical. BODIES … The Exhibition should not be confused with “Body Worlds,” “Body Exploration,” “The Universe Within,” “Bodies Revealed,” or any other human anatomy exhibition.

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