Skip Navigation

Home Projects Publications Archives About Sign Up or Log In

Preserved cadaver exhibits banned in Seattle

Exhibition or freak show? 'Bodies: The Exhibition' cashes in our own curiosity

Anatomy of a controversy

Missouri congressman concerned about origin of bodies at exhibit currently in Cleveland

20/20: Inside the Bodies Exhibit

Photographic History of Human Dissection

Not many things get banned in Seattle, so it was a bit unusual this week to learn that the city council in the Emerald City voted to ban commercial cadaver displays. For those who might not be familiar with such matters, preserved cadaver displays have become tremendously popular over the past several years, and they include the exhibits "Bodies" and "Body Worlds". In Seattle, Councilmember Nick Licata expressed concern over the origins of the bodies used in these displays, and other citizens (including anatomy professors and museum directors) thought that the exhibits were disrespectful to the families of the deceased. The popular exhibit "Bodies" had been on display twice in Seattle, and the group responsible for sponsoring the exhibit stated that they received these bodies from a plastination facility in China, which had in turn, received them from Chinese medical universities. Similar laws have been signed into law in Hawaii, New York, and San Francisco. The ban in Seattle does not apply to human remains that are more than 100 years old or consist solely of human teeth or hair. Given the continued popularity of such exhibits, this issue may be revisited in other towns across the United States.

The first link will take visitors to a news article from this Tuesday's Seattle Times which talks about the recent ban passed by the Seattle City Council. The second link leads to a thoughtful retrospective piece from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer which reviews the original exhibit which found its way to Seattle in 2006. Moving on, the third link leads to an excellent piece from the Washington Post that reports on the initial reactions to the "Bodies: The Exhibition" display. The fourth link leads to a recent piece from the Cleveland Plain Dealer which discusses concerns about the "Bodies: The Exhibition" raised by a Missouri congressman which may affect an upcoming exhibit in St. Louis. The fifth link leads to a segment from ABC's "20/20" program about the Bodies exhibit. It should be noted that the segment contains images that some persons may find graphic in their depiction of the human body. The final link leads to a piece from Inside Higher Ed which provides material on a recent book about the photographic history of medical dissection.
?  Cumulative Rating: (not yet rated)
Alternate Title Seattle council bans exhibits like 'Bodies'
GEM Subject
Date Issued 2010-07-23
Scout Publication
Date of Scout Publication 2010-07-23
Archived Scout Publication URL

Resource Comments

(no comments available yet for this resource)