Alec Hamilton, Assistant Producer, WNYC News
Alec Hamilton is an Assistant Producer in the WNYC newsroom. She produces Morning Edition and starts her work day very, very early.
An exhibit that probes the wonders of the human body is moving into a permanent home in Times Square.
"Body Worlds: Pulse" is an exhibit of preserved human bodies with skin and muscles selectively peeled back to display body systems. It's been on display at Discovery Times Square for nearly a year but is now moving to a permanent wing of the museum.
Doctor Angelina Whalley is the show's creative designer. "I always felt that the human body is a treasure," she said on a recent tour of the museum. Exhibits were still being set up, and the sound of drilling and hydraulic motors filled the air. A few feet away, a technician meticulously painted glue over a tiny tear in a lung. "I always felt that it's a privilege to be able to open that body and see what it's like and discover all the tissue and organs."
The exhibit was designed with New York in mind, and features preserved cadavers posed in dynamic stances. Whalley said in the first Body World exhibit in 1995, the bodies were posed straight upright, "almost like an anatomical model." But that changed in response to criticism. "People complained [that] they look so dead!"
Now they take their cues from anatomy drawings from the Renaissance, where the bodies are posed as though in movement.
The cadavers are donated, and prepared in laboratory in Gubin, Germany by a team of around 50 dissectors. These days, Whalley said, a good dissector is hard to find, because the study of anatomy has fallen out of vogue among medical schools.
"There's so many new things that a student has to learn within a limited period of time,' she explained. "Because of that there are not so many well-trained dissectors in the world."
The Manhattan exhibit focuses on the effect of fast-paced living and offers a not-so-subtle lesson about the importance of caring for one's health.
Whalley said she hopes the design will prompt viewers to consider their own insides.
"The body is actually a result of our lifestyles," she said. "Whatever we do to it it matters."