Anatomical Hangover

The final attendance count for Body Worlds: 602,450.

The most recent estimate I’ve heard is that somewhere between 35,000 and 40,000 of those attendees came through in the marathon weekend. As one co-worker put it: “It was like Black Friday all weekend long.”

(For comparison’s sake: 11,000 vistors is considered a Big Day, and that’s when they’re scattered throughout the exhibits, rather than concentrated in one single set of galleries.)

Another colleague working on Saturday text-messaged the Sunday shift: “Prepare yourself mentally.”

Melissa Dribben from the Inky did a good job in capturing some of the feel and the flavor if the weekend:

After spending a few hours in Body Worlds, it was impossible to walk away without feeling that all humans are, fundamentally, the same creatures. And for all the staggering differences among the tens of thousands who passed through last weekend, they, too, all shared one critical, eminently human quality.

They were all a bunch of incorrigible procrastinators.

The visitors certainly ranged in every way you’d expect. Those that drove immense distances, and those from around the corner who’d allowed their very promiximity to lull them into inaction and procrastination. Those who were polite and patient and folks like the one woman declaring with her best sneer of disdain: “I didn’t know you had to have tickets for this thing!”

Finally, though, a champagne toast–okay, sparkling cider–was lifted late last night as vistors celebrated the experience and the record attendance, and weary staffers celebrated the accomplishment. And the record attendance.

Today, Mandell Hall is already empty. The full-body plastinates have been carefully wrapped and crated; trucks will be pulling up to the loading dock throughout the afternoon and evening, with the goal of having all the exhibit’s pieces safely on their way by 1 A.M. Inside the offices we’re notcing how an air conditioning system programmed to compensate for warm temperatures and big crowds is still merrily pumping refrigerated air onto we far fewer Monday numbers. It’s a good day to have a parka at your desk.

Meanwhile, the world turns. Down the hall, seating arrangements are being prepared for Thursday’s Franklin Awards. And I’m reviewing some draft narrative about this fall’s big exhibit. But more on that another day…

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