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HEALTH Human corpse exhibit coming to Cleveland



Published: Wed, April 6, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The exhibit drew 16 million visitors while visiting Europe and Asia.

CLEVELAND (AP) -- A health exhibit of human corpses with exposed organs, bones and muscles is to open in Cleveland this weekend after the science museum assembled an advisory panel of clergy and other community leaders to discuss the ethics involved with such a display.

The exhibit at the Great Lakes Science Center uses skinless bodies of people who granted permission for their corpses to be used for education.

The exhibit has been wildly popular at other museums, for years traveling around Europe and Asia where 16 million visitors viewed the displays, often with controversy over concern about how the bodies were obtained.

California crowds

The California Science Center stayed open around-the-clock on the last weekend of the "Body Worlds 2" exhibit there to accommodate a flood of last-minute visitors to its exhibition featuring human cadavers.

The bodies are preserved through a process called "plastination" in which fluids are replaced with clear, pliable plastic.

Bodies are displayed sliced and splayed open, showing muscle the red color of raw meat. One is posed as a basketball player dribbling, and another of the bodies is shown as an archer about to snap her bow.

The Great Lakes Science Center got the idea of using an advisory board from the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

"It's a delicate subject," Great Lakes spokeswoman Trish Rooney said.

Advisory panel

To thwart criticism here, the center assembled an advisory panel before agreeing to host the exhibit. The eight members of the panel saw pictures and a computer presentation on the exhibit and gave the thumbs up.

The Rev. Marvin McMickle, pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Cleveland, said he recalled a line from Psalm 139 when he saw pictures of the exhibit: "I will praise thee for I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

"I look at the design of the human body, the genius, the way all these parts are assembled, and I think what a mighty God we serve," McMickle said.

The Jewish faith places particular emphasis on reverential treatment of the dead. The benefits of showing lungs blackened by cigarette smoke and livers bloated by alcohol are more important, said Rabbi Richard Block of the Temple-Tifereth Israel in Cleveland and Beachwood.

Cuyahoga County Health Commissioner Terry Allan shared the hope that the display could help improve people's heath.Visitors to the Cleveland exhibit who want to donate their bodies can get forms at the center, which will house the display through Sept. 18. About 60 people, including the executive director of the science center, did so in Los Angeles.




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