The human skeleton is more than the dried bones seen on display in this, the opening gallery of the exhibition. Your bones help you to stand upright, give you a purposeful stride, and provide the “backbone” to your life. That’s why they make a fitting start to your journey through the human body.
It is the first thing we do and (almost) the last thing we do while on the planet – take a breath. Here, amidst inspiring scenic installations, visitors explore the respiratory system, see a striking example of smoker’s lungs, and discover the significance of the breath in religions around the world.
Essential to life, the digestive system converts the foods we eat into the fuel we need to survive and thrive. Not only does this gallery explore the ins and outs of how we break down foods and liquids into nutrients and energy, but also features enlightening scenic installations related to our hunting and gathering past.
The rhythm of the heart is the drumbeat behind close to 100,000 miles of arteries, capillaries and veins that run the course of our bodies. This striking gallery sheds light on this magnificent cycle through artistic displays that take you inside the circulatory system.
Dancing, running, throwing, twisting, wiggling, swaying, stepping, jumping. The human muscular system is a complex machine—operating on an almost subconscious level to keep us balanced, coordinated, and on-the-go. This gallery presents specimens in active poses, giving guests the chance to see up close what their body is doing when moving through space.
“What are you thinking?” asks this gallery, in no uncertain terms. Displays range from whole brains, opened spinal cords, and even the smallest bones in our body that allow the sense of hearing, in order to illustrate the connectedness of the nervous system.
What Becomes of Us
The physical reality of death is quite straightforward; but it is also a mystery for those left behind. Cultures have developed elaborate rituals to honour those who have died, and throughout history humans have approached death in a fascinating variety of ways. Though it is hard to think about, this gallery invites guests to reflect on where we will go, what we will leave behind, and what follows this life.
For humans, certain elements of biological attraction are believed to be wired from our time as primates. Symmetry of the face, a certain waist to hip ratio, and scent are powerful elements in immediate attraction, but they come to us from a time when were first learning to walk on two feet. The ‘love’ gallery presents the emotional, cultural, and biological elements of love in a compelling and moving display.
In a quiet and respectful setting, visitors can witness the first stages of life through thoughtfully displayed embryonic and fetal specimens.
The miracles of modern medicine are making our lives longer and our quality of life better, fundamentally changing the human experience. In this, the final exhibition gallery, guests are invited to marvel at human healing powers, and challenged to contemplate whether we’re not too far from creating humans who might live forever!