An eye-opener at the Fair

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Friday’s column is about “Our Body, the Universe Within,” an unusual exhibit at the L.A. County Fair in which preserved organs and actual cadavers are on display for what are said to be educational and scientific purposes. It’s quite a sight.

You can read more about the exhibit at the official website. Most of the photos that cycle through on the home page are of figures on display at the Fair. The “News, Media and FAQs” section explains how the figures are prepared and where the cadavers come from (which turns out to be China).

Have you seen the exhibit? What did you think? Or what do you think of the whole concept?

Photo courtesy L.A. County Fair

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  • Chris Coen

    I happened to see the exhibit elsewhere, and I have to say that it was fascinating and definitely worth seeing. Yeah, it’s mildly creepy at first, and I admit that I was hesitant to check it out initially. A friend who had seen it convinced me to go anyway, and I found that it was so interesting to see the human body in a way that is normally impossible that I quickly lost any uneasiness I had.

  • Kristin McConnell

    I took Alana through the exhibit. Although I was worried about the effect it would have on a 7 year old, I still thought it’d be a great practical science approach to all the anatomy she’ll be learning. I talked and talked, gave her every reason to back out.

    But, this little brave one was not the least bit fazed and said that if she thought of it as science, she wouldn’t be grossed out. It wound up being a fantastic exhibit!

    She was fascinated with the hands and feet, and wasn’t bothered by the bodies being nude (I warned her of that, too). Upon seeing the actual reproductive organs, I asked if she was grossed out when she saw the genitals. She said that it didn’t bother her because she remembered what her brother looks like without his diaper. That was funny! :)

    Her favorite part, however, was watching the video of the robotic surgery. She wouldn’t leave the exhibit until she was sure that “the girl in surgery was okay”. :)

    The saddest part was the infant’s head cross-sectioned to show hydrocephaly. That hit home for her and she asked if anyone could develop that later in life. I said, “no, not that I’ve ever heard of…” That was the only time I needed to comfort her, and that was only briefly.

    This exhibit was very well done and I’m glad we went through it. There’s absolutely no need to be wary of the bodies. In a way, their presentation adds a bit of art to the anatomy, which, I’m hoping, was the organizers’ point. We loved it. :)

    [Glad to hear that went well. What bothered me were the very young children there, like age 3 or 4. Maybe they were too young to understand what they were seeing. I hope so! -- DA]

  • Kristin McConnell

    Re: 3 and 4 year olds: Yeah, you’re right. I would never have taken Kelan in. He’d either not get it or get so scared and he’d start crying. I count myself lucky that Alana was so easygoing about it. Last year, there would have been NO WAY she’d have wanted to go in. Parents definitely need to think of their kids’ temperaments and maturity levels before seeing anything like that.

    [I suspect most parents think their kids have above-average maturity, just like everyone thinks they're an above-average driver! -- DA]