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🫀 Get to the heart of happiness at this must-see exhibition

The Science Museum of Virginia invites you to discover the science behind happiness and its impact on our health during “BODY WORLDS.”

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A GIF of displays at "BODY WORLDS: The Anatomy of Happiness" at the Science Museum of Virginia.

The legendary “BODY WORLDS” exhibits have drawn more than 55 million visitors globally.

Photos provided by the Science Museum of Virginia

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What makes you happy? Is it savoring a piece of chocolate, taking a relaxing walk on the beach, or feeling the rush of skateboarding? No matter what brings you joy, the impact of happiness on our bodies + minds is more universal than you might think.

Meet “BODY WORLDS: The Anatomy of Happiness,” a traveling exhibit making its North American debut at Richmond’s Science Museum of Virginia, now on display through Sept. 2.

Journey under the skin

This striking exhibit features real human specimens that were willingly donated to the Institute for Plastination, each preserved through a fascinating process called plastination. Developed by Dr. Gunther von Hagens, this method halts decomposition and keeps specimens looking lifelike for display.

Fun fact: One full-body specimen takes about a year to complete, with anatomists clocking in around 1,500 hours of meticulous work — talk about dedication.

Mind over and matter

Each display blends art + science to show how our minds and bodies are connected. During the exhibit, you’ll learn about:

  • How activities like tai chi and yoga boost our health
  • The muscle dynamics behind sports, like skateboarding and soccer
  • The grace and balance of figure skating
  • How music can improve your mood and physical well-being
  • And more

Dr. Angelina Whalley, the exhibit’s curator, believes that everyone should have access to this knowledge. According to her, “When we understand how our bodies work and what makes us happy, we’re more likely to make healthier choices.”
Pro tip: When purchasing “BODY WORLDS” tickets online, be sure to add regular Science Museum admission to your cart before selecting the add-on ticket for “BODY WORLDS.”

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