Volume 20, Number 36 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | January 19 - 25, 2011

“Bodies” gets a makeover

The “Bodies” exhibit is closed for the month of January while it receives a substantial makeover, according to Premier Exhibitions, the company that owns and operates the exhibit.

John Zaller, vice president of creative and design at Premier Exhibitions, said the updated galleries will have “fascinating elements to allow visitors a window inside their bodies to see how remarkable and complex they are.” The exhibit’s curators, Zaller explained, comprehensively thought out the changes.

“Our learning over the past five years, and comments from visitors, has been that people want to know more about how the body works… and what they can do to prevent disease,” said Zaller.

There are no plans for exterior refurbishments to the building, which is perched at the corner of Fulton and Front Streets, steps away from the South Street Seaport Museum and a two-minute walk from the Fulton Street subway station.

The exhibit will showcase 130 new specimens never-before seen in New York, sixteen of which are full-body, along with multimedia programming meant to provide a “fresh experience for each visitor.” The smaller specimens will also offer a more comprehensive view of the development of the human fetus. Visitors will be able to track a fetus’ development from nine to 24 weeks. 

Many of the galleries will be updated with interactive features, including illustrated wall displays and a physical examination that assesses visitors’ health in relation to national standards and averages.  

The updated galleries will include a display of healthy lungs, which will be juxtaposed to a smoker’s deteriorating lungs. And the gallery featuring the human body’s circulation system will contain a full-body display and a new cast of blood vessels. Zaller expects a physical demonstration of the deterioration of a smoker’s lungs anticipated to be “really powerful for visitors.” 

Sprucing up the galleries, Zaller explained, is an important part of the exhibit’s overall role in the South Street Seaport. The plan, he said, is to keep the exhibit going for the next five or 10 years. “Our feeling is that, as long as people have a body, they’re going to be interested in how it works, what ails it, and how you cure it,” he said. Premier Exhibitions has a long-term lease on the space, with multiple extension options.

Zaller noted that Premier exhibitions has a “very good relationship” with its landlord, the Howard Hughes Corporation, and that the company hopes to “help maintain the health of the Seaport” by attracting new tourists to the area and generating visitors.

— Aline Reynolds

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