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‘Body Worlds’ returning to Discovery Place in autumn

Viewers take in a plastinated figure with a basketball during the first exhibition of “Body Worlds” in Charlotte.
Viewers take in a plastinated figure with a basketball during the first exhibition of “Body Worlds” in Charlotte. Observer file photo

A sequel to “Body Worlds,” the most popular exhibit in Discovery Place’s three-decade history, will be unveiled in November, the uptown science center announced Wednesday.

“Body Worlds & The Cycle of Life,” which uses plasticized human bodies to illustrate various stages of the human life cycle, will debut Nov. 21.

It is one of nine “Body Worlds” exhibitions on tour around the world, and is the East Coast debut of the show. Other “Body Worlds” shows focus on animals, cardiology and other themes.

Presented by Novant Health, “Body Worlds” exhibitions use human bodies that have been plastinated after death to reveal anatomy. Plastination is a technique developed by anatomist Gunther von Hagens in 1977.

In 2007, Discovery Place hosted von Hagens’s original “Body Worlds” exhibition, which drew about 300,000 visitors over nearly seven months.

In the next exhibition, human bodies illustrate various stages of life, from robust youth to maturity and waning health.

“As we age, our bodies undergo different experiences and changes,” Catherine Wilson Horne, president of Discovery Place, said in a statement. “At each stage of life, we seek new answers. … Just as our body is always changing, so is the lens through which we view ‘Body Worlds’ and science.”

Art Gallagher, vice president of community engagement for Novant, said the exhibit will further understanding of how lifestyle choices affect human development.

Plastination replaces natural fluids in the body with liquid plastics that are then hardened. Before hardening, the bodies are fixed into lifelike poses.

“Body Worlds” says that, aside from a small number of acquisitions from anatomical collections, it uses a body donation program begun in 1983 relying on donor consent.

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