'Body Worlds' exhibit draws thousands to Portland | News

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'Body Worlds' exhibit draws thousands to Portland



The final weekend of the "Body Worlds" exhibit at the Portland Science Center drew hundreds of people Saturday to see what a human looks like underneath its skin.

Heather Estabrook brought her five-year-old son, Eli, to see the displays. Eli said his favorite part was seeing the hearts and the brains.

"It was fun. It was a great time. I think he's very curious, so I think it's very good for his age to see all the body parts," said Heather. "I think it's good to have stuff in Portland that brings attention to all the new stuff and the last time we saw this was in New York, so it was great to see it in Portland.

Portland Science Center president Joe Gold estimated Saturday that more than 75,000 people will have seen the exhibit by its closing day on Sunday, January, 3. The science center opened back in early September of 2015.

"It's been very gratifying," said Gold. "Whenever you start a new business and a new opportunity, there are a lot of questions that come up. 'Will the public support it? Will people enjoy what we're presenting?' Quite honestly, I think it has exceeded our expectations."

The displays feature real human bodies. They show the details of disease, physiology, and anatomy that models cannot show. A process called Plastination creates the specimens in Body Worlds. Plastination is when the fluids in the body are replaced with plastics such as silicone rubber, polymers, and resins to permanently preserve specimens.

"It gives people the opportunity to see what they're made of -- to see how lifestyle choices affect the human body," said Gold.

The displays show the full human anatomy, including genitalia, and have many parts of the body isolated in cases for close-up viewing.

Gold said the exhibit is bigger than the one in Boston, and the same size as the one in New York.

"This is as good as you get. This is a world class exhibition," said Gold.

Gold expects this inaugural exhibit will set a precedent for what Mainers can expect at the Portland Science Center.

"Now it lets us project two or three years into the future and be able to get on the tour for some of the major exhibits that are touring around the world. So I think it's great for people from Maine because it allows us to now have a great selection of exhibits that will come in," said Gold.

Parents like Heather agree.

"I think it's good because I think it gives us an opportunity to bring something new, and it gets you out of your home and doing different stuff -- interesting for his age to see this sort of stuff, too, obviously. So we don't have to travel two hours to be there," said Estabrook.

Sunday is the last day for Body Worlds, but the Portland Science Center has two more exhibits coming this January: The Robot Zoo and Space: A Journey to Our Future.




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