Exhibit reveals what lies beneath the skin

Wednesday, May 7th 2008, 12:54 pm
By: News 9

By Audrey Esther and Darren Brown, News9.com INsite Team

An exhibit at the Science Museum Oklahoma is exhibiting real bodies in a way never seen before within the state, Science Museum Oklahoma communications coordinator Shaundra North said.

Displayed in seven galleries are 18 real body specimens and more than 130 body parts and pieces with the OUR BODY: The Universe Within exhibit. The unique and controversial display is one of only a few similar exhibits in the world.

OUR BODY has been on display at Science Museum Oklahoma since November. The traveling exhibit will remain in the metro until May 11.

"This exhibit or one like it must come to Oklahoma City, because it was definitely important to allow Oklahomans the opportunity to see the human body as never before," North said.

She estimates more than 100,000 people have traveled through the exhibit and many of those visitors were school children.

Joni Neitzler, a science teacher for Mulhall-Orlando school system, toured the exhibit with fellow Mulhall-Orlando science teacher Crystal Stephens. Both teachers said the exhibit was not appropriate for their elementary-aged students, who toured the rest of the museum. However, the teachers said they hoped to educate their students about what they saw.

"We're actually doing a human body systems project in my classroom," Neitzler said. "To actually see what we've been learning in real life has been really astonishing to me."

However, some members of the scientific community question where the OUR BODY specimens came from. Some have speculated on the conditions surrounding how these people died and if these people knew their bodies would be used for such an exhibit after their deaths.

North said all specimens in the Oklahoma City exhibit originated from China and were donated through medical schools and research facilities.

However these bodies came to be in the exhibit, North is sure the exhibit is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many Oklahomans.

"The chances of this particular exhibit or one similar to this returning to Oklahoma City are none," North said.