Visitors to the Putnam Museum can get up close and personal with human bodies this spring.
Organized by Atlanta-based Premier Exhibitions Inc., the traveling exhibit "Bodies Revealed" is scheduled to run March 9 to July 14 at the museum. It features 12 actual human bodies in various poses along with 185 individual organs and specimens.
The 12 full-body specimens will be displayed in nine galleries, each focusing on a different system in the body.
The exhibit's website states the human specimens are preserved with a polymer of liquid silicone rubber. A small organ may need a week to prepare, and an entire body may take about a year before it is ready. The preservation can last decades.
Dr. Roy Glover, chief medical director for Bodies Revealed, said the bodies are obtained from medical schools who retain ownership. All of the specimens are adults who died of natural causes, he said.
"We are responsible for using them for educational purposes and they will be returned to the schools," said Dr. Glover. "We do it in as dignified and respectful way as we can. The process is a confidential one; ages and manner of death are not disclosed."
He said medical schools do not accept donations of bodies with contagious diseases, a frequent question of visitors to the exhibit.
Putnam President and CEO Kim Findlay said staff from Bodies Revealed will take several weeks to set up the exhibit which covers nearly 7,000 square feet. Medical professionals and medical students will be on hand during the exhibit she said, to answer questions.
"There's no disputing the actual truth of the human body," said Ms. Findlay. "It's very timely in terms of discussion of health policy and what part we all play in health costs."
More than 1.5 million school children have seen the exhibit, according to Dr. Glover. He said the exhibit is designed to make it comfortable and educational for all.
"As an anatomist, it's my passion to teach about the body. So many people know very little about it," said Dr. Glover. "There's so much abuse of it. We want people to be better caretakers of their bodies."
Today is Wednesday, Dec. 11, the 345th day of 2013. There are 20 days left in the year. 1863 — 150 years ago: The message of Abraham Lincoln, read in congress yesterday, is published in full in our paper today, with a new proclamation relating the terms upon which states can return to the union. 1888 — 125 years ago: An appropriation has been made by congress for the improvement of the upper Mississippi River with $200,000 set aside for the portion of the river between Keokuk and the mouth of the Illinois River. 1913 — 100 years ago: Work of remodeling First Swedish Lutheran Church at 4th Avenue and 14th Street was nearly completed. 1938 — 75 years ago: An unexplained outbreak of tularemia (rabbit fever) in the state has Illinois public health officials puzzled. Ten persons have died, and 243 are officially reported ill with the infection. 1963 — 50 years ago: A dramatic, multi-million dollar riverfront improvement project for the downtown area of Rock Island was unveiled at a meeting of 200 civic leaders at noon today. 1988 — 25 years ago: For several supporters of the Dispatch Goodfellow/Argus Santa program their donation is a year long project. Emma Pugh and Anne Persinger spent a good part of their spare time this year knitting forty pairs of mittens and slippers.