The Plastinarium in Guben, Germany, was opened in 2006 by Gunther von Hagen, a doctor and inventor of plastination, which is a special process allowing water in cells to be substituted by plastic materials through vacuum. This way organic substances can be preserved very well, for instance, organs, limbs, and other parts of the body.
The exhibition, which is accommodated in an old tissue manufacture on 3,000m² (3,600 sq yd), is unique worldwide. The visitors are shown the detailed plastination process of organic substances as well as the famous and controversial exhibition “Körperwelten” (engl. “body worlds”). The Plastinarium informs about various preservation techniques and the anatomy of humans and animals.
The exhibition space is subdivided into four areas:
The first segment deals with the history of anatomy, the conservation and the creation of plastination processes. One will come to know what role in particular Leonardo da Vinci used to play and how useful this was for the medical progress in general.
In the second part, one will encounter a learning hub that consists of many stations. One can learn a lot about singular body systems, their position and anatomic preparation.
The third section, located in the gallery area, offers a partial glance at the exhibition “Körperwelten” focusing on animals. Two plastinated giraffes are exhibited as well as body slices of lions, ostriches and crocodiles. No animal was killed for the exhibition, though. Most of them are donations of animal parks and zoos, which remain anonymous.
In the showroom, the fourth exhibition hall, plastinated whole body samples of humans and animals are shown as well as numerous other singular substances, including a blue shark.
Gunther von Hagen
The exhibition is the result of 39 years of work done by Gunther von Hagen, covering fields of chemistry of plastics, medical sciences, preservation techniques and anatomy. The invention of plastination has revolutionised the scientific field of anatomy and, above all, has changed our perspective on the human body.
By using the latest technology, large plastinated anatomic objects and substances are produced in Guben for the purpose of supplying study materials for students of medical sciences.
One can watch the employees of the Plastinarium working on the plastination of samples and learn so much about the insides of a human body.
You can go on and discover everything by yourself or book a guided tour for the Plastinarium.