Bodies documented how humankind has inspected and depicted
our bodies for scientific and medical purposes over the centuries.
The exhibition went a step further to look at how these representations
of the body have shaped society"the social, political,
and cultural 'outcomes' of body images," as Project Codirector
Melissa Alexander put it. Visitors explored these outcomes
through a rich mix of images, models, cultural relics, preserved
specimens, art, interactive activities, special programs,
developers carefully chose and juxtaposed the exhibits so
they revealed more than just historical trends.
The exhibits also exposed interesting, compelling connections,
such as how centuries-old images of the body affect our thinking
today, or how people from different cultures relate to their
exhibit, for instance, displayed two prosthetic limbsone
high-tech American device and one rudimentary wooden limb
from Cambodiato illuminate the cultural gulf between
the two countries.
Prosthetics statistics dramatically underscore this gulf:
while diabetes accounts for the biggest proportion of prosthetics
use in the United States, landmines are the main culprits
visitors moved through Revealing Bodies, they could explore
their own bodies with the exhibition's twelve interactive
These included a magnifying camera that could enlarge a body
part of your choice onto the exhibition's walls, and a special
instrument that detected body heat.