Journal of Medical Humanities

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 231–254

Experiencing Body Worlds: Voyeurism, Education, or Enlightenment?


DOI: 10.1007/s10912-007-9042-0

Cite this article as:
Moore, C.M. & Brown, C.M. J Med Humanit (2007) 28: 231. doi:10.1007/s10912-007-9042-0


Until the advent of plastinated cadavers, few outside the medical professions have had firsthand experience with human corpses. Such opportunities are now available at the Body Worlds exhibits of Gunther von Hagens. After an overview of these exhibits, we explore visitor responses as revealed in comment books available upon exiting the exhibit. Cultural, philosophical, and religious issues raised in the comments serve as a microcosm of society at large. The conclusion considers the challenge of such exhibits in introducing the public to science education, notes the image of the body as machine—so prevalent in the West—reflected in visitor comments, and finds hope that the exhibits promote, for many visitors, a sense of community among all humankind.


Anatomy artBody WorldsEvolution and designGunther von HagensPlastinationScience educationScience exhibitions

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cellular and Structural BiologyUniversity of Texas Health Science Center at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA
  2. 2.Trinity UniversitySan AntonioUSA