Origin of Plastinated Specimens in BODY WORLDS Exhibitions
Gunther von Hagens’ BODY WORLDS are the original, first of their kind, anatomical exhibitions created in 1995 by the inventor of Plastination, Dr. Gunther von Hagens.
Gunther von Hagens' BODY WORLDS Briefing on the Origin of Plastinated Specimens in BODY WORLDS Exhibitions
Gunther von Hagens’ BODY WORLDS are the original, first of their kind, anatomical exhibitions created in 1995 by the inventor of Plastination, Dr. Gunther von Hagens. Dr. von Hagens is only affiliated with exhibitions that bear the name, BODY WORLDS or KÖRPERWELTEN in German.
All whole-body, plastinated specimens on display in Gunther von Hagens’ BODY WORLDS exhibitions stem from a special body donation program established in Heidelberg, Germany in the early 1980s, later managed by the Institute for Plastination. Today, the Institute for Plastination administers a donor roster of more than 17,700 individuals, who have willed their bodies to the Institute for public medical education. Over 2,000 of them are already deceased. The donor roster includes mainly Germans and North Americans, but also two living donors from New Zealand.
The Institute for Plastination’s body donation program and all documents relating to it are reviewed annually by the City of Heidelberg in Germany. A local notary regularly confirms the authenticity of the documents, such as death certificates and consent forms.
All documents have been scrutinized and approved by numerous institutions around the world. Some organizations have sent legal advisors to Heidelberg to review and confirm the legitimacy of the program. Among them was an ethics committee formed by the California Science Center in Los Angeles that has granted us the permission to publish the findings. The ethical review documents can be downloaded from our website www.bodyworlds.com:
More information on the specifics of the program and the program’s body donation brochure are available at www.bodydonation-plastination.com
With several anatomical exhibitions, similarly titled and derivative of BODY WORLDS that have appropriated Dr. von Hagens’ Plastination technique, and frequently imitated his dissection principles and didactic presentations, there has been confusion among the media and the public about the origin of the bodies used in BODY WORLDS exhibitions and legal action enforced on unrelated exhibitions.
The list of actual and future BODY WORLDS exhibitions can be found online: https://bodyworlds.com/exhibitions/