Experiencing Body Worlds: Voyeurism, education, or enlightenment?

Charleen M. Moore, C. Mackenzie Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Until the advent of plastinated cadavers, few outside the medical professions have had firsthand experience with human corpses. Such opportunities are now available at the >Body Worlds exhibits of Gunther von Hagens. After an overview of these exhibits, we explore visitor responses as revealed in comment books available upon exiting the exhibit. Cultural, philosophical, and religious issues raised in the comments serve as a microcosm of society at large. The conclusion considers the challenge of such exhibits in introducing the public to science education, notes the image of the body as machine - so prevalent in the West - reflected in visitor comments, and finds hope that the exhibits promote, for many visitors, a sense of community among all humankind.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-254
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Medical Humanities
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • Anatomy art
  • Body Worlds
  • Evolutionand design
  • Gunther von Hagens
  • Plastination
  • Science education
  • Science exhibitions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy


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