OMSI to Host Gunther von Hagens' BODY WORLDS & The Cycle of Life

Special Exhibit Reveals the Marvel of the Human Body from Birth to Old Age

PORTLAND, Ore. – On Mar. 7, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) will host the Pacific Northwest debut of Gunther von Hagens’ BODY WORLDS & The Cycle of Life, a new presentation of the groundbreaking anatomical exhibition series BODY WORLDS that has been seen by more than 50 million people globally. 

The opening in March will mark the third time a BODY WORLDS exhibit has been featured at OMSI. In 2006, BODY WORLDS 3: The Anatomical Exhibition of Real Human Bodies became the most popular exhibit in the museum’s history. 

The 10,000-square-foot exhibit, designed by BODY WORLDS’ creative and conceptual designer Dr. Angelina Whalley, is different from the two previous BODY WORLDS exhibits at OMSI. It focuses on the human life cycle, capturing the body at every stage—at its most healthy, as it changes, grows, matures, and finally wanes. 

“We are thrilled to once again bring BODY WORLDS to the Pacific Northwest. This extraordinary exhibit will offer our visitors a unique experience and spark conversations about the many changes experienced during each phase of life and highlight the steps we can all take to remain fit, healthy, and active,” said Nancy Stueber, OMSI president. 

In addition to showcasing the wonders of human development, the exhibit’s numerous specimens demonstrate the complexity, resilience, and vulnerability of the human body when in distress, when stricken by disease and when in optimal health. All specimens presented in the BODY WORLDS exhibitions are preserved through plastination, a scientific process invented by pioneering anatomist Dr. Gunther von Hagens.

Highlights of BODY WORLDS & The Cycle of Life include:
●    More than 100 specimens specially curated for this exhibition. Visitors will see individual organs and systems, as well as full-body plastinates in various poses including football players, gymnasts and more.
●    A stunning look at conception and prenatal development, which features a multimedia display on cell division and a remarkable collection of plastinates acquired from historical anatomical collections. 
●    The Artists’ Gaze – an exploration of the sight and vision of artists Claude Monet and Edgar Degas, who suffered from cataracts and retinal eye disease. 
●    Centennial Village – a feature on findings from geographic clusters around the world that are home to the longest living people on earth, from Okinawa, Japan, to Ovodda, Sardinia, to the Hunza region of Pakistan. These people, who defy what longevity means, have been found to share common traits and lifestyle practices that are worthy of attention.

The BODY WORLDS series was originally conceived to educate the public about the inner workings of the human body and to reveal the long-term effects of both healthy and unhealthy lifestyles. BODY WORLDS is the first exhibition of its kind to inform the visitor about anatomy, physiology and health by viewing real human bodies donated to the Institute for Plastination, established by Dr. von Hagens in 1983. 

"Dr. von Hagens originally developed plastination as a way to teach people about the human body and show its full potential,” said Dr. Angelina Whalley, director of the Institute for Plastination. “Today, BODY WORLDS & The Cycle of Life is the perfect way to use this science to showcase the beauty of the human body and reveal the secrets of vitality, longevity and well-being."  

BODY WORLDS & The Cycle of Life opens at OMSI on Mar. 7 and will remain on exhibit through Oct. 4. Tickets to this exhibit, which include general museum admission, are $26 for adults, $18 for youth (ages 3-13), and $22 for seniors (ages 63+). Prices for OMSI Members are $12 for adults, $10 for youth, and $11 for seniors. Guests can purchase tickets online at, via phone at 503.797.4000, or in person at the museum starting Feb. 17. Due to tremendous public interest, advance ticket purchase is recommended. 

Invented by Dr. Gunther von Hagens in 1977, the plastination process replaces the natural fluids in the specimen with liquid reactive plastics that are hardened and cured with gas, light, or heat. Before hardening the plastic in the specimens, the plastinates are fixed into extraordinary, lifelike poses, illustrating how our bodies internally respond to everyday movements and activities. Plastination provides the flexibility and strength needed to display and preserve the specimens in their true-to-life form, without the use of glass barriers or formaldehyde. Dr. von Hagens’ BODY WORLDS exhibitions stem from an established body donation program that relies on donor consent. The specimens on display, excluding a small number of acquisitions from anatomical collections and anatomy programs, stem from a body donation program that was begun in the early 1980s by Dr. von Hagens.

About OMSI
Founded in 1944, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is one of the nation’s leading science museums, a world-class tourist attraction, and an award-winning educational resource for the kid in each of us. OMSI operates the largest museum-based outdoor science education program in the country and provides traveling and community outreach programs that bring science learning opportunities to schools and community organizations in every county in Oregon and throughout the region. OMSI is located at 1945 SE Water Avenue, Portland, OR 97214. For general information, call 503.797.4000 or visit