In The F.M. Kirby Gallery of the Biosciences, in The Joy and George Rathmann Hall of Science on the second floor of the Science Center
The Franklin Institute's giant model walk-through Heart, an icon in Philadelphia since its opening in 1954, was last renovated in 2004 as part of a new bioscience exhibit, The Giant Heart: A Healthy Interactive Experience. The 5,000 square foot exhibit surrounds the Heart as it pulses with interactive devices areas.
A giant EKG (electrocardiogram) wave runs down the middle of the exhibit's room. Exhibit components include a full size re-creation of a surgical theater, complete with actual open-heart surgery being performed via video effects, and a display of some of the latest technologies used in human heart treatment. A musical cartoon about blood transport and giant crawl-through arteries engages children.
The exhibit is organized around four thematic areas:
Heart Anatomy and Physiology features the "Giant Walk-Through Heart," which was originally built in 1954 as a temporary exhibit entitled "The Engine of Life." This iconic Philadelphia attraction is two-stories highthe largest walk-through heart in the countryand would be the accurate size for a 220-foot tall person. Enhancing the experience are sound and lighting effects, as well as a 3D monitor that re-creates the experience for guests who cannot or who do not wish to walk through the heart.
Heart Anatomy and Physiology also features "A Heart Spiral" sculpture with a slowly rotating spiral of animal heart models, showing that different-sized animals have different-sized hearts. Visitors are able to take their own electrocardiogram (EKG) reading on the "EKG Machine," whereby learning how to read a cardiograph. "The Heart Across Time and Other Cultures" focuses on the meaning of the heart in other cultures and specific medical mythology surrounding the heart.
Health and Wellness focuses on the importance of exercise and healthy diets in maintaining a balanced lifestyle. A human skeleton running on a cross training machine shows visitors the skeleton's internal workings during exercise. Two enclosed audio booths"Chill Out" and "Day in the Life"show visitors the connection between relaxation techniques and the lowering of one's heart rate. "The Talking Vending Machine" describes the nutritional value and misconceptions of each of its 16 food items. The 8-foot long "Crawl Through Arteries" device allows children to pretend they are a blood cell navigating through clear and clogged arteries.
Blood includes the "Blood Fountain," which illustrates blood's components&$151;plasma, red and white blood cells, and platelets. The "Bucket of Blood" device measures a visitor's body mass based on his or her weight. A faucet from above pours a liquid representing blood into a clear tube showing how much blood is in his or her body. "Bloodmobile Video Theater" plays an original cartoon with music, created by music group They Might Be Giants especially for this exhibit, displaying how blood transports chemical messages, nutrients, and oxygen through the body.
Diagnosis and Treatment provides information, through hands-on, interactive devices, on diagnostic imaging tools, including X-rays, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), and ultrasounds. "Melting Humans" utilizes a lenticular graphic (optical illusion) to show a human body "melting" from outside to inside, revealing internal organs and systems.
"The Surgical Theater," donated by Lankenau Hospital, is a replica of an authentic hospital surgical area, and includes a "patient" with an implanted video of an actual open-heart operation. The "Robot Video," produced by the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, shows the latest robotic diagnostic technologies, including how robot "assistants" perform operations, such as valve repairs and bypasses. "That Was Then This Is Now" shows visitors, through a pinball machine-like device, how medical treatment of a variety of ailments has changed and improved over time.
The Giant Heart exhibit is designed as a celebration of the heart, both the human heart and The Franklin Institute Heart.