Exhibitions and Exhibits That Are a Bit… Well … Different, and Which Are About the Animal Kingdom – Including We Humans

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a national leader in exhibition services and event project management.

We have been in business for close to 30 years, and launched as a company that focused exclusively on providing exhibit installation & dismantle services for Boston and Southern New England.

Today we have offices in major cities across the U.S., and work from coast to coast, and also handle select projects internationally.

At Willwork, we are committed to finding, and practicing better ways to serve and respond to our clients.  We are committed to innovation and improvement.

We at Willwork are also interested in and follow everything about the exhibition services and event project management business.

To wit, an area and paradigm in our industry that we find of intrigue, is that which is unique and different, and maybe outlandish, and perhaps even oddball and strange.

We thought it would be of interest, today, in this space, to take a look at exhibitions and exhibits that are … well … unique and different.  Unique and different for the contents of the exhibition, or the method and physical structure of exhibition, or both.

And, those exhibitions, those exhibits, we have chosen serve important purposes, and advance important causes.

As well, in this post, we have gone a bit more specific than the different and even offbeat, for we have chosen exhibitions and exhibits that are about biology and the animal kingdom.

We focus on exhibitions and exhibits about humans and non-humans.

On the human front, we just have to include here BODY WORLDS, the touring exhibitions of preserved human bodies and body parts.

image credit: Gunther von Hagens' BODY WORLDS

image credit: Gunther von Hagens’ BODY WORLDS

BODY WORLDS, which debuted in Tokyo in 1995, is the brainchild and enterprise of German anatomist Gunther von Hagens, who invented the human tissue preservation technique, plastination.

Plastination is the process with which all specimens in the BODY WORLDS exhibitions have been preserved.

BODY WORLDS exhibitions have been held in more than 100 cities worldwide, and have been attended by 40 million people, making it the top attended traveling exhibition in history.

As explained at the BODY WORLDS website, “all anatomical specimens displayed in the BODY WORLDS exhibitions … belonged to people who declared during their lifetime that their bodies should be made available after their deaths for the qualification of physicians and the instruction of laypersons.”

A new exhibition that BODY WORLDS has developed is BODY WORLDS: Animal Inside Out, which “sheds light on what lies beneath the skin of more than 50 animals, among them some of the world’s most spectacular creatures.”

image credit: The Washed Ashore Project

image credit: The Washed Ashore Project

The Washed Ashore Project, based in Brandon, OR, builds and produces a traveling  exhibition, and also develops educational programs, to teach and raise awareness for, and “illustrate the tragedy of plastic pollution in … oceans and waterways and to encourage conservation.”

There is much that is special – and different – about the Washed Ashore exhibition, primarily in that is a  collection of beautiful and giant sculptures … beautiful and giant exhibits … depicting marine life, that are made and crafted from trash that has been removed from beaches.

Washed Ashore, the exhibition, has engagements at museums, aquariums, schools, and other places across the U.S.


image credit: American Museum of Natural History

Life at the Limits: Stories of Amazing Species, a production of the American Musuem of Natural History, “explores the diverse and sometimes jaw-dropping strategies animals and plants employ to find food, fend off predators, reproduce, and thrive in habitats many would find inhospitable, even lethal.”

The exhibition, which is set at the museum, brings together live animals, “specimens, videos, interactive exhibits, and models.”

Among the live animals on display are a “surprisingly powerful mantis shrimp; the jet-powered nautilus; and the axolotl, an entirely aquatic salamander that breathes through external gills.”

How about an exhibition in which you can swim with polar bears – adult polar bears that weigh about 750 lbs.?

You can have that experience … sort of … at the Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat, a sanctuary located about a seven-hour drive north of Toronto, that is the only “captive bear facility in the world dedicated solely to polar bears.”

image credit: Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat

image credit: Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat

Okay, as for that swim, there is an exhibit at the Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat – it is called the Habitat – Swim With The Bears Wading Pool – open from late May through mid-September.  The wading pool, for the humans, is heated and about three feet deep – and is separated from the polar bear pool by a shatterproof (let’s hope) glass about two inches thick.

Visitors who are fortunate, and take a dip, just might have the opportunity to swim and go face-to-face with polar bear.

Now that is an exhilarating experience, and also a little scary – which makes it fun.

On this blog, down the road a bit, Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services – please indulge us saying, again, that we are a national leader in exhibition services and event project management – will dedicate another post to the different and unusual in exhibitions and exhibits.