Two exhibitions, One unforgettable teaching experience

03/21/2011  |  LAUREN LEIGHTON

What is the single heaviest organ in the body? How does smoke affect the color and shape of the lungs? BODIES...The Exhibition in Atlanta answers these questions, as well as provides an educational experience for teachers and students visiting the exhibition in Atlantic Station.

BODIES...The Exhibition provides students with an internal view of the human body and how it functions. It educates students on their own bodies and how to be healthy. All of the bodies on display are real specimens and it is imperative that teachers prepare their class by discussing this detail before touring.

Teachers and students will have the opportunity to see humans both in their full form and dissected. The dissected parts provide them with an in-depth view of these essential components and their purpose. The bodies seen on the tour are prepared using a technique called polymer preservation. During this procedure, the tissue is permanently protected using liquid silicone rubber. When the process is complete, the human body is transformed into a rubberized specimen, which helps distinguish its parts.

During their tour of BODIES...The Exhibition, students will gain a better understanding for different medical conditions they have learned about in school. The Exhibition highlights the importance of good health — specifically showcasing issues like cancer, smoking, cirrhosis, arthritis and bone fractures. One gallery specifically demonstrates the difference in color of healthy lungs and lungs affected by cigarette smoke.

Throughout their visit, students will have the opportunity to experience nine galleries, each featuring specific body parts and their structures. These galleries include the skeletal, muscle, nervous, circulatory, digestive and reproductive systems, with a separate and optional fetal gallery, and a gallery of how prosthetic joints and surgical tools can be used to restore health. The ninth gallery allows students to write comments about their BODIES...The Exhibition experience at the end of the tour. 

Although students can get close to the human bodies, they are unable to physically touch the specimens on display. If they were able to feel the bodies, they would be dry to the touch with either a rigid or flexible texture. This all depends on the chemical mix used to preserve them.

Students will probably ask about the origin of the human bodies on display.  All of the specimens used in BODIES...The Exhibition are from a plastination facility in Dalian, China where they are received from Chinese medical universities.  

If there are avid sports fans in the class, they are in luck. Some of the human bodies on display are positioned in various athletic poses, giving sport-loving students an ‘inside scoop’ on what athletes look like when they are out on the field or scoring a goal. 

One important body part that students might take for granted is the human eye and what it provides for them everyday. What if all of a sudden that ability disappeared? How would people compensate for what they usually use the ability of sight for?

Dialog in the Dark, a groundbreaking and one-of-a-kind tour — with the only U.S. location in Atlanta — will take teachers and students inside the lives of those without the gift of sight. Visually impaired individuals make up the team of inspirational and dedicated tour guides at Dialog in the Dark. Some guides were born without their vision and others lost sight later on in life. The absolute darkness will open the class’ eyes to a new way of discovering the world around them.

Dialog in the Dark was developed by Dr. Andreas Heinecke of Germany and replicates familiar experiences that people face everyday. Canes in hand, teachers and students will be presented with daily challenges and tasks in total and complete darkness. During the hour-long tour, guides will provide support and lead the class through the real-life galleries within ‘Dialog City.’ Some guides add humor or personal stories to tours, making it an even more realistic and life-changing event for some.

When escorted through the different galleries, the class can expect to use their sense of smell, hearing and touch in ways they’ve likely never experienced.  The galleries feature different scents, sounds, temperatures and textures that people encounter throughout their daily routines. Students might be faced with certain challenges because of the drastic transition from the familiar light to absolute darkness, but challenges soon turn into a deeper understanding for those facing life everyday without the ability of sight. 

After their adventures through ‘Dialog City,’ students are encouraged to interact with their guide during the question and answer session that takes places in the café area of the tour. This is a special portion of the tour for students and can leave some teary-eyed.

As teachers plan their class field trips to BODIES...The Exhibition and Dialog in the Dark, they can visit to request a free Teacher’s Guide with experiential activities that support the Georgia Performance Standards for each grade level. Chaperones are invited to both exhibits at no additional cost.

For more information about BODIES...The Exhibition in Atlanta, visit Visit for information about Dialog in the Dark.
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