Museum of Science, Boston to Host Northeast Debut of Gunther von Hagens’ BODY WORLDS & The Cycle of Life

March 14, 2019

Special exhibit reveals the marvel of the human body from birth to old age

BOSTON On June 16, 2019, the Museum of Science, Boston will host the Northeast debut of Gunther von Hagens’ BODY WORLDS & The Cycle of Life, a new presentation of the groundbreaking anatomical exhibition series BODY WORLDS that has been seen by more than 47 million people globally. The 10,000-square-foot exhibit, designed by BODY WORLDS’ creative and conceptual designer Dr. Angelina Whalley, focuses on the human life cycle, capturing the body at every stage – at its most healthy, as it changes, grows, matures, and finally wanes.

The opening in June will mark the second time a BODY WORLDS exhibit has been featured at the Museum – in 2006, BODY WORLDS 2: The Anatomical Exhibition of Real Human Bodies became the Museum’s most popular exhibit in twenty years during its four-month run. The BODY WORLDS series was originally conceived to educate the public about the inner workings of the human body and to reveal the long-term effects of both healthy and unhealthy lifestyles.

“We are thrilled to bring BODY WORLDS back to the Northeast and to introduce a whole new audience to the magic of this extraordinary exhibit,” said Christine Reich, Vice President Exhibit Development and Conservation. “BODY WORLDS & The Cycle of Life offers our visitors a unique experience to discover the wonders of the human body and unveil the mystique that is within us all just beneath the skin.  This exhibit perfectly complements the Museum’s many other offerings celebrating the human biology, including The Hall of Human Life, that help us all to connect to science and technology in a personal way by drawing attention to how science helps us to better understand ourselves and our bodies.”

In addition to showcasing the wonders of human development, the exhibit’s 100+ specimens demonstrate the complexity, resilience, and vulnerability of the human body when in distress, when stricken by disease and when in optimal health. All specimens presented in the BODY WORLDS exhibitions are preserved through Plastination, a scientific process invented by pioneering anatomist Dr. Gunther von Hagens.

Highlights of BODY WORLDS & The Cycle of Life include:

  • More than 100 specimens specially curated for this exhibition. Visitors to BODY WORLDS & The Cycle of Life will see individual organs and systems, as well as full-body plastinates in various poses including acrobats, football players, and more.
  • A stunning look at conception and prenatal development which features a multimedia display on cell division and a remarkable collection of plastinates acquired from historical anatomical collections.
  • The Artists' Gaze – an exploration of the sight and vision of artists Claude Monet and Edgar Degas, who suffered from cataracts and retinal eye disease.
  • Centennial Village – a feature on findings from geographic clusters around the world that are home to longest living people on earth—from Okinawa, Japan and Ovodda in Sardinia to the Hunza region of Pakistan. These people, who defy what longevity means, have been found to share common traits and lifestyle practices that are worthy of attention.

BODY WORLDS is the first exhibition of its kind to inform the visitor about anatomy, physiology and health by viewing real human bodies donated to the Institute for Plastination, established by Dr. von Hagens in 1983. "Dr. von Hagens originally invented plastination in 1983 as a way to teach his students about the structure of the human form,” said Dr. Whalley. “Today, BODY WORLDS and the Cycle of Life is the perfect way to use this science to showcase the beauty of the human body and remind us that our bodies are our personal responsibility and remain with us throughout our lives.  Our bodies are fragile and vulnerable, yet resilient and forgiving. This exhibit shows that giving up unhealthy lifestyles or adopting healthy changes, can make a difference at any age."

BODY WORLDS & The Cycle of Life will open at the Museum of Science, Boston on June 16, 2019 and will remain on exhibit through January 5, 2020. Exhibit tickets can be purchased with Exhibit Hall passes beginning May 14. Due to tremendous public interest, an advance purchase of timed tickets is recommended. For more information, call 617/723-2500 or visit

View the full press kit here:

About the Museum of Science, Boston

One of the world's largest science centers and New England's most attended cultural institution, the Museum introduces more than 1.4 million visitors a year to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) through the world-class hands-on exhibits, programs and pre-K-12 curricula of its William and Charlotte Bloomberg Science Education Center. An extraordinary variety of learning experiences span the Hall of Human Life, Thomson Theater of Electricity, Charles Hayden Planetarium, Mugar Omni Theater, Gordon Current Science & Technology Center, 4-D Theater, and Butterfly Garden. The Science Behind Pixar, created with Pixar Animation Studios, is touring internationally. The Museum's National Center for Technological Literacy® has transformed STEM education nationally and internationally through advocacy, standards and assessment reforms, teacher professional development, and curriculum development. The Museum’s pre-K-12 curricula, including its award-winning Engineering is Elementary®, have reached an estimated 18 million students and 185,000 educators. Visit:



Invented by Dr. Gunther von Hagens in 1977, the Plastination process replaces the natural fluids in the specimen with liquid reactive plastics that are hardened and cured with gas, light, or heat.  Before hardening the plastic in the specimens, are fixed into extraordinary, lifelike poses, illustrating how our bodies internally respond to everyday movements and activities.  Plastination provides the flexibility and strength needed to display and preserve the specimens in their true-to-life form, without the use of glass barriers or formaldehyde. Dr. von Hagens’ BODY WORLDS exhibitions stem from an established body donation program that relies on donor consent. The specimens on display, excluding a small number of acquisitions from anatomical collections and anatomy programs, stem from a body donation program that was begun in 1983 by Dr. von Hagens.


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