Bodies Revealed: Greensboro Science Musum


Shaquille Blackstock
         Staff Writer

The Greensboro Science Museum has many exhibits for adults and children to explore and learn from, and the Body Exhibit is one of those showcases that wows and makes one wonder about these vessels that connect humans to the physical world. The Bodies Exhibit shows in great detail what seemingly small bones make up the intricate features of the feet, brain, muscles and organs.

Jessica Bierman, an educator and the curator for the exhibit, had many interesting facts that most people might not know about. “Children’s bones grow faster in the spring. Babies have over three hundred bones, while adults only have 206. It takes nineteen muscles to move a hand, not all of which are in the hand itself. The forearm tendons move phalanges or the finger bones.”

She also spoke on where the bodies come from, which in itself is unorthodox, “The bodies come from China, and they went unclaimed for a period of time. They would have been incinerated but were instead donated to the museum.”

A quote on the wall that seemed to fit in with the situation and exhibit contextually was: “The body never lies.”

The skull was of particular interest because instead of one spherical bone, there were at least thirty. “Skulls have 30 different bones, even down to the teeth. The sinuses have multiple holes and passages for air,” said Bierman.

She continued by explaining muscles, which would have interested any fitness major.

“Think of the muscle fibers as guitar strings that they body is constantly tuning to maintain muscle tone. If all the muscles in your body worked together, you could lift over ten tons. Your brain activity produces enough electrical energy to power ten light bulbs,” said Bierman.

She also explained the significance of the base of the spine, called the coccyx, which is a remnant of our ancestors’ tails.

As far as cleaning goes, the staff only cleans the cases and not the bodies. The bodies have been chemically preserved for years to keep them intact and as detailed as possible. Humidity levels must be maintained at a specific temperature.

There are always educators present for school aged children to enjoy themselves and learn. The museum also sees many adult and professional classes, so the demographic is broad.

Bierman, who takes pride in informing the public, mentioned that the exhibit is helpful for nurses and other people in the medical profession. “We have half a dozen faculty members, as well as volunteers, so it’s certainly a wide professional range.”

Interestingly, the exhibit that didn’t focus on the tendons and muscles of the anonymous deceased was the arterial section. It was an inside out reflection of the organs, and the colors were made of plastic mold.

It was a peaceful section of the body exhibit, one that inspires awe at the complexity of the human body.

Bierman added, “The goal of our exhibit is to be more of an actual immersive experience, rather than something passive like reading from a textbook.” When asked about the draw in of the museum, she said, “It’s simply awesome. I focus museum studies, and you can take in as much as you want. It is not an overwhelming experience. We want our visitors to take it in at their own pace; otherwise it can be wildly overwhelming.”

The exhibit will be open until June 9, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Uncategorized, Visual & Performance

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