Universcience, an organisation that works to make science accessible to all, has announced that its popular exhibition, The Secret of the Gut is now open at Experimenta in Heilbronn, Germany, where it will run until 1 May 2022. This takes visitors on a journey through the human body and is based on the best-selling book Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ, by Giulia and Jill Enders.
The book’s creators were also directly involved in the design of this exhibition, providing an educational and entertaining journey into the stomach. “Good science communication is free of fear or shame. That was always important to us – also when accompanying the exhibition,” says Giulia Enders. “We were very excited to see the book come to life in the Science Center, to become tangible and three-dimensional,” adds Jill Enders.
Discover what goes on inside the gut
The exhibition starts with a tour of the digestive system, where visitors are ‘swallowed’ by a giant mouth and taken inside, where they will discover the functions of each organ along the way. Following this, it explores the world of microbes and microorganisms within the gut, and then the third part of the exhibition looks at the wellbeing of the intestine. Here, visitors can find out how to look after their own intestinal flora.
Throughout the 750 square metre exhibition, there are many interactive, hands-on exhibits, as well as films where visitors can see real organs and MRI images. The exhibition was developed by the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie in Paris, in cooperation with the Finnish Science Center Heureka and the Pavilhão do Conhecimento – Ciência Viva Museum of Technology in Lisbon.
Interactives include a wall where guests can trigger a food allergy or watch what happens inside the gut when we eat, There is also a rope that shows real dimensions of the large and small intestines and even a toilet exhibit that shows the ideal sitting position.
In the second part of the exhibition, while they are exploring the microbiome, visitors can enter a room modelled on the intestinal wall, for a truly immersive experience. An interactive screen shows different intestinal bacteria and the role they play, while the exhibition laboratory looks at the different ways that researchers find out more about this world inside the stomach.
The final section of the exhibition delves into how visitors can improve their own wellbeing by making sure that they have a healthy gut. This section includes a multimedia game where they can ‘buy’ different foods and find out how much fibre each item has. They can also discover practical advice on hygiene and watch a film on the healing powers of gut bacteria.
The exhibition also has an accompanying educational programme for the whole family. For instance, at the Robert Mayer Lecture on 15 February 2022, Nutritionist Prof. Dr Dirk Haller will present a talk called “We are not alone. How microbes in the gut affect our lives”. There will also be a course called “Vespers with a difference!” which will give families new cooking and baking ideas, as well as the chance to get hands-on.
The exhibition will offer courses for school groups of all ages as well, allowing them to conduct experiments and enjoy hands-on learning.
Earlier this year, Universcience also brought an adaptation of its Special Effects! exhibition to Musée de la civilisation in Quebec City, Canada.