Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Touring Corpses

Just a few steps removed from the Rolling Stones upcoming road trip is the BODIES, the Exhibition.

According to the Exhibition's website, this exhibition has "educational relevance for all ages."  The exhibition uses real human specimens to "immerse[] visitors in the complexities of the human body, telling us the amazing story of ourselves with reverence and understanding."

The promoters have used a special process to replace soft tissue with rubber.  The skin is then removed to expose all of the person's innards such as organs, bones, veins & arteries, and brain.

Although this sounds macabre, the exhibition has been enormously popular with more than 12,000 people visiting the exhibit at Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry in just four days, breaking the record previous held by the Titanic exhibit.  See Human cadaver exhibit breaks museum recordsSarasota Harold-Tribune, Aug. 23, 2005.

The exhibit has also caused considerable controversy because it appears that consent of the body donors was not obtained.  Reports claim that the bodies are those of citizens of China who, after dying, were either unidentified or unclaimed by their families.  The Florida Anatomical Board opposed the exhibition because the donors had not consented in writing.  See Would you have allowed 'BODIES, the Exhibition' to open?, Sarasota Harold-Tribune, Aug. 21, 2005.

Note that other groups of decedents are also on tour.  For example, the Body Worlds 2 exhibit is at the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland until September 18, 2005.  If by any chance you attend, I would be pleased to post your review.

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