People say Body Worlds 2 could change the way you live. But the way you die?
"I wouldn't be surprised if by July 23, someone who participated in the exhibit as a visitor decides to participate as a donor," says Dr. Bridget Coughlin, curator of health sciences at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. "I think it's happened in every city so far."
That alone may trump all other plaudits for this exhibition, and even the gaudy numbers associated with it. More than 100,000 people visited Body Worlds 2 in its first 11 days at the museum, and Denver-area schools immediately snatched the 25,000 free passes that Body Worlds Corporation offered them.
Regardless of history, habits or body type, you probably have something to offer Body Worlds architect Dr. Gunther von Hagens.
Lots of healthy human bodies and body parts are on display, but the smoker's lung, the slice of fat, and the polycystic kidney really attract attention. They're all parts of real people, preserved via "plastination," which replaces water in the body tissues with fluid plastics that harden after vacuum-forced impregnation.
Coughlin has taken note of baby boomers crowding around the arthritic knee, "trying to decide whether their knees are better or worse than what they see there."
"It's a narcissistic experience," she says. "It appeals to a wide range of people, because it's all about you."
And no more so than if you complete a donor's consent form.
"I recently visited the exhibit and found it absolutely amazing," commented one 20-year-old future donor. "I hope that one day people can look at me with the same sort of wonderment."