Should I Take My Kids To Real Bodies The Exhibition?

  • Parents Only

By: Alex Harmon, ellaslist

Warning: this article contains images which may cause distress

Real Bodies The Exhibition which showcases 20 real, perfectly preserved human bodies and over 200 anatomical specimens has made its Australian debut in Sydney. On now at Moore Park for a limited time, it invites visitors to discover the elegance, complexity, and mystery of their own bodies as they examine the unbelievable anatomical systems that comprise human life. The controversial exhibition has been seen by millions worldwide, but the question is, would it be suitable for your children?

Won't Somebody Think Of The Children

According to the website's FAQ's, it is a "great exhibition for all ages to enjoy, we recommend children aged 4 years and over will get the most out of their exhibition experience."

While it raises some interesting and philosophical questions for kids, such as What are we made of? Where do we come from? What's going on inside our bodies? The truth is, the bodies on display are real - there is no hiding from the all the 'guts and gory glory' so to speak. There are some confronting things on display, from a cross-section of a head to a series of embryos and fetuses to a smoker's blackened lung. Can your kids handle it? Do you want them to see these things? Only you, their parents will be able to answer this.

Some of the things you will need to consider include, how much your kids can handle the sight of blood and anatomy? The skinless bodies are 100% on display here including reproductive organs, skulls, brains, cancerous tissue, and the human nervous system (there's no smell in case you're wondering). How do your kids handle themselves when confronted with death? The exhibition is graphic, there's no denying that. It also raises many questions about what constitutes education and what is simply gore and voyeurism. Again, this is something that only you as parents can answer.

Bits To Avoid?

Of the 11 galleries the only one which is sectioned off is 'The miracle of life, in Utero', which means you could potentially skip this part if you didn't want your children to see the embryonic and fetal specimens.

The Ethics Of The Exhibition

Another thing worth noting is the 'questionable' means to which the bodies came to be in the exhibition. You may see protesters outside EQ with placards that read "Murder". These protesters claim that the bodies are that of murdered Chinese political prisoners who have unwillingly donated themselves to the exhibition. So, is there any truth to this? The bodies used in the exhibition were provided by Dalian Medical University Biology Plantation in China, and according to the exhibition, the bodies were legally donated. However, so far there has been no proof of consent to confirm if this is true. The organiser, Imagine Exhibitions Inc. calls the claims "unfounded and offensive" yet they have not been able to provide any documents from the deceased or their families.

There is even a petition by to shut the event down, as has happened in other parts of the world. 

"This person did not know he would be here. We've never claimed that he would know he would be here," said Imagine Exhibitions president Tom Zaller to SBS News.

"Just as if you went to the museum and saw the King Tut exhibition, or a mummy exhibition. Those mummies on display, they didn't know they were going to be on display."

How Long Does It Take?

The exhibition will take around an hour to complete but there is a lot of scientific reading involved, which could make it better suited to children 8 years and older if they are truly to get something out of it from an educational perspective. 

The Details

Real Bodies is on now until October 14 2018 at Byron Kennedy Hall, Entertainment Quarter 122 Lang Road, Moore Park.
A family pass (4 tickets) costs from $71.
For more information check out the website. 

Would you take your kids ot see the exhibition? Let us know in the comments!

Images: Supplied by Real Bodies