Franklin Institute Presents ‘Animal Inside Out’

Franklin INstitute Dr Whalley 2

Angelina Whalley, Ph.D., curator of The Franklin Institute’s exhibit, “Body World: Animal Inside Out,” running October 4, 2014 to April 12, 2015. (Photo: Bonnie Squires)

The Franklin Institute’s Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion is the venue for the exciting new exhibition, Body Worlds: Animal Inside Out.

Before you get upset, I can assure you that no living creatures were sacrificed for this exhibit. I spent a lot of time with Angelina Whalley, Ph.D., who is not only the creative and conceptual designer of the exhibit, but she happens to be the wife of Gunther von Hagens, the Director of the Institute for Plastination in Heidelberg, Germany. Von Hagens invented the Plastination process, which does away with skin and fat but preserves the muscles.

I confess that I never went to visit the preceding Body Worlds exhibits because I thought the human bodies would be too gruesome to view. But the animal world of “plastinated” creatures sounded fascinating. And it is.

Frankln Institute Larry Dubinski at The Body

Larry Dubinski, CEO of The Franklin Insititute, also enjoys the Sesame Street companion exhibit, “The Body.” (Photo: Bonnie Squires)

When Larry Dubinski was named President and CEO of The Franklin Institute, I noticed that his last name ended in the letter “i.” So I didn’t think this was a Jewish name. But it turns out whatever Dubinski relative landed at Ellis Island had to use the spelling inflicted on him by a guard who probably did not understand the language the Dubinski clan member was speaking.

He is an honorary vice president of Congregation Rodeph Shalom, and he has a law degree from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law. His undergraduate degree is from the University of Texas at Austin. And he has been with The Franklin Institute since 1997, with a few years away in the law firm of Morgan, Lewis and Bochius.

There has been a seamless transition from the lengthy tenure of Dennis Wint.

Dr. Whalley and her husband agree with Dubinski that the exhibit shows the “commonality” of every living creature and helps build respect for science and for all forms of life.

She and her husband collected giraffes, bulls, rabbits and other animals through the relationships they have cultivated relationships with many zoos, veterinary hospitals, etc. They get a call when an animal dies a natural death and the body is transported to their institute in just a couple of days so they can begin their work.

It is amazing to see the similarities between animal muscle systems and human muscle systems, what the animal blood vessels and brains look like. Of course one has to inquire as to how the giraffe display was transported. It turns out the animal is in pieces which are not discernible once re-assembled.

Dubinski is also pleased with the companion exhibit in the Mandell Center, “Sesame Street Presents: The Body.” Although designed as an interactive paradise for very young children, it is also a treat for adults and older children as well.