This weekend, I had a great time visiting the Body Worlds exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. The museum reminded me of my childhood, a time when we all wanted to become scientists after attending the museum (but most of us kids probably ended up as lawyers).
In the exhibit, scientists display preserved human bodies to show different functions and systems of the human body. Exhibit attendees learn about how blood travels through the body, how the nervous system transmits signals, and how muscles allow your body to play basketball and make other movements.
At one point in the exhibit, when learning about the blood, museumgoers had the opportunity to take their own blood pressure. People lined up to stick their arms into the hole to see how close they were to 120/80.
In a different exhibit in the museum, you could also visit “You! The Experience,” an exhibit exploring your mind and body, your hopes and dreams, and everything that makes you who you are. The exhibit can tell you how good of an eater you are based on what you’ve eaten that day. You can even hear what your voice will sound like as you age.
It all made me wonder: If people are excited to take their blood pressure and read about their eating habits, wouldn’t a museum-style doctor visit be more appealing?
You’d enter the first room, and instead of filling out your chart on a clipboard, you’d see a big touchable screen where you can press a button checking off your family history. As soon as each one is checked, you’d hear a noise. Diabetes? Boink! Liver problems? Kazoom! Alcoholism? Skidoosh!
An interactive computer will ask you about your social habits, followed by sounds from a fake audience. Do you smoke? No. [Crowd goes wild.] Do you wear a helmet when you ride a bike? Sometimes. [Crowd gives a hesitant golf clap.] Do you exercise? Not really. [Crowd boos.]
Then, you’d step on a colorful scale to measure your height and weight. You’d look above you at the cartoon chart to learn if you’re short like a mouse, tall like a giraffe, skinny like a leopard, or…more like a hippopotamus. You’ll then get to see a fun house mirror of yourself if you continue your current habits. If you look like a model, keep doing what you’re doing; if you don’t like what you see, maybe it’s time to start thinking about joining a gym.
Before taking your blood pressure, participants would take bets on what it will be, and then go into the relaxation room for yoga and tai chi before taking the measurement. Participants will use instruments to look into each other’s eyes, ears, and mouths, following a computerized diagram of what they are supposed to look like. When measuring their reflexes with that hammer-type gizmo, participants can put a rubber ball at their feet to see whose reflexes are the best, according to who can kick the ball farther.
When you’re given a prescription, it’s in the middle of a word search: You’ll have to solve the puzzle to figure out if you’ll be taking penicillin or doxycycline. Once you find it, you’ll watch a video of what the medicine will be doing inside your body, using visual aids of colorful, stuffed animal models of molecules.
If they can make medicine taste good for kids, it shouldn’t be too difficult to make doctor visits more fun, like museum exhibitions.
I can’t wait for my yearly checkup at the museum…but I hope my copay isn’t as expensive as museum admission!