Whitaker Center Announces Special Engagement of 'OUR BODY: THE UNIVERSE WITHIN' EXHIBITION

HARRISBURG, Pa., May 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts today announced that it will bring the highly-successful exhibition Our Body: The Universe Within - featuring real human bodies - to Harrisburg, opening June 7, 2008.

Central Pennsylvania residents and visitors will have a unique opportunity to come face-to-face with approximately 12 polymer-preserved human bodies, and 80 additional organs and partial specimens in a way they never have before. Our Body: The Universe Within literally, and figuratively, goes "under the skin" to expose the intricacies of the human body and explore health science, anatomy and physiology. The full-body specimens are respectfully presented; many are in vivid athletic and artistic poses, allowing the visitor to relate to everyday activities and providing the opportunity to view the beauty and complexity of their own organs and systems. This up-close look inside the skeletal, muscular, respiratory and circulatory systems clearly shows how lifestyle choices directly affect our health.

"Our Body: The Universe Within is a wonderful opportunity for residents of Central Pennsylvania and beyond to see a presentation that has amazed and inspired people all over the world," said Whitaker Center president and CEO Dr. Michael Hanes. "We are working with medical professionals, educators and religious leaders in our area for this presentation, and we know there is interest in having such an informative and educational experience in our community."

This 7,000 square-foot educational exhibition casts a new light on the alluring mystery of the human body through the presentation of these specimens. By highlighting anatomy studies over the past 1,000 years, visitors also see how the complexity of these organs and systems has influenced generations of artists and scientists.

"We are thrilled at the opportunity to bring the exhibition to Whitaker Center and I am confident the exhibition will provide visitors with a life-changing educational experience," said Dr. Walter I. Hofman, Medical Advisor for Our Body: The Universe Within. "By presenting specimens, anatomical displays and reproduction of historical anatomical art work in an artful, compelling and dignified environment, patrons have the opportunity to connect with human artifacts on a personal level that will help them to better understand their own bodies."

The body specimens in the exhibition are preserved through a revolutionary technique called polymer preservation. In this process, human tissue is permanently preserved using liquid silicone rubber that is treated and hardened. The end result is a rubberized specimen, preserved to the cellular level, showcasing the complexity of the body's many bones, muscles, nerves, blood vessels and organs. The full-body specimens can take more than a year to prepare.

"Harsco Science Center at Whitaker Center is keeping a promise to educate Central Pennsylvanians about the beauty of science," said Dr. Roger Longenderfer, Pinnacle Health System president and CEO, and a community advisory committee member for Whitaker Center's exhibition of Our Body: The Universe Within. "Our Body: The Universe Within should be viewed by anyone curious enough to learn about the human body and experienced reverentially by anyone awed by its complexity."

The exhibition's cutting-edge MicroWorld gallery features high-magnification images of healthy and diseased skin, organ and cell samples. These images under extreme magnification allow visitors to investigate otherwise invisible cell levels that impact our health. Guests can investigate the forces that impact our health and discover the surreally artistic effect achieved by viewing these samples under extreme magnification.

"These beautiful exhibits may inspire the young to pursue careers in healthcare," said Lisa F. Lewis, vice president of patient care services/CNO for Holy Spirit Hospital, and Our Body: The Universe Within community advisory committee member. "Demystifying anatomy will reduce the fear that we all share when we face illness."

Whitaker Center is working to partner with various institutions of higher learning to provide additional education resources throughout the duration of the presentation. "Doctors and medical profession students will volunteer at various times during the Our Body: The Universe Within presentation in order to answer questions and supplement the educational experience," said Steve Bishop, vice president of Harsco Science Center.

Our Body: The Universe Within is produced by The Universe Within Touring Company, LLC. All of the specimens in Our Body: The Universe Within came from individuals from the People's Republic of China who died of natural causes and were donated by the deceased or their next of kin to accredited medical institutions for medical research and educational purposes, including preservation and public education. The specimens were then received by The Anatomical Sciences & Technologies Foundation in Hong Kong, China.

When the worldwide tour of Our Body: The Universe Within ends, all specimens will be returned to the Foundation in China for permanent display in its planned Museum of Life Sciences.

"Whitaker Center was committed to finding an exhibition that was respectful, could educate the general public about the complexity and beauty of the human body, and used specimens from individuals who willingly and knowingly chose to donate their bodies to public education," Hanes added. "Our Body: The Universe Within meets those standards."

Tickets to Our Body: The Universe Within are $22 for adults, $20 for students (with ID) and seniors (55+), $17 for children (3-12) and $16 for Whitaker Center members of all ages. Tickets include admission to Harsco Science Center. Advance tickets are recommended and can be purchased at THE BOX, online at whitakercenter.org or by phone at 717-214-ARTS (2787).

Whitaker Center's Our Body: The Universe Within Community Advisory Committee is comprised of:

Melissa A. Carroll, M.S., Doctoral Candidate in Anatomy, Dept. Neural and Behavioral Sciences, Penn State College of Medicine

Sheila Dow-Ford, Esq., Pennsylvania State Board of Education and Whitaker Center Board Member

Bill Hubler, CEO, Chinese Cultural & Arts Institute

Rabbi Peter Kessler, Temple Ohev Sholom, Harrisburg, Pa.

Lisa F. Lewis, Vice President Patient Care Services/CNO, Holy Spirit Hospital

Roger Longenderfer, MD, President and CEO, Pinnacle Health System

Kristen Olewine Milke, Chair, Whitaker Center Board of Directors

Megan Walde Manlove, Science Communications, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Penn State College of Medicine

Chen-Yu Tsuei, President, Chinese Cultural & Arts Institute

Ian S. Zagon, Ph.D., Distinguished University Professor, Penn State College of Medicine

About Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts

Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, located at 222 Market Street in downtown Harrisburg, Pa., features three fun-filled floors and traveling exhibits in Harsco Science Center, breathtaking films and Hollywood blockbusters in Select Medical IMAX(R) Theater and nationally touring acts and Resident Companies in Sunoco Performance Theater. Long the dream of Pennsylvania's community and business leaders, the $52.8 million dollar facility opened its doors on 9/9/99. Since its opening, Whitaker Center has received more than 4.5 million visitors.

SOURCE Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts

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