YOU! The Experience


Groundbreaking permanent exhibit YOU! The Experience opens at Griffin MSI

CHICAGO (Oct. 8, 2009)YOU! The Experience, a dramatic and unprecedented 15,000-square-foot exhibit, is a celebration of the body, mind and spirit that explores our personal health and well-being. The exhibit showcases the extraordinary workings of our bodies, the choices we make, the environment in which we live, and the role of medical technology. It opened in October 2009 as a permanent experience at the Griffin Museum of Science and Industry, in Abbott Hall.

“This exhibit is unique because it is real and personal,” said David Mosena, president and CEO of the Griffin Museum of Science and Industry. “It doesn’t just delve into human anatomy and stop there; it speaks to the total human experience — who we are as human beings and how we can empower ourselves to take better care of our minds and bodies. And it does all of this in a fun, inspiring, cutting-edge and provocative way.”

Whether trying out a few moves in virtual basketball, or playing Mindball, a game in which the more relaxed player wins, guests will see themselves and their health choices in new, fun and provocative ways. In addition, the exhibit brings together cutting-edge technologies never before seen in a Museum setting, an impressive array of authentic human specimens, and personal stories from real people from around the country. Guests will learn how people overcome physical challenges to stay active, have discovered the keys to longevity, manage a typical day’s diet—and more.

YOU! The Experience features a stunning new interpretation of the Museum’s iconic “heart” that can actually beat in time with a guest’s own heart. The 13-foot tall Giant Heart, created using state-of-the-art HD digital imagery, is able to beat in time with a guest’s pulse. Additionally, seamless front and rear digital projection allow guests to explore the exterior, as well as interior, workings of this fascinating organ.

In addition, the Museum is first museum in the world to have a Human Patient Simulator, nicknamed iStan® (for “Standard Man”). This computer-controlled, full-sized mannequin is used to train today’s medical students— but in the facilitated experience Griffin MSI Hospital guests are able to diagnose and treat highly-realistic medical conditions using this amazing technology.

Other examples of the more than 50 interactive stations within the 15,000-square-foot exhibit include:

Get in the Action—A virtual coach helps you learn some hip-hop dance, basketball or tai chi moves. See your silhouette on a giant screen as you join in the fun; follow your own movements in real time as your silhouette leaves spectacular color trails on the screen.

Seeing with Sound—With eyes closed, use echolocation to try to distinguish among different materials using only the sounds that bounce back to you. The exhibit also highlights the story of blind bicyclists who use this technique to navigate their surroundings while riding over rough terrain.

Hamster Wheel—The human-sized “hamster wheel” will get you moving and provide real-time feedback on your body’s responses to aerobic activity.

Vein Viewer™ —See the blood pulsing through your veins via an infrared camera.

Interactive Prosthetic Arm—An authentic prosthetic hand and arm will amaze you as you control the device with your own hand and arm. The prosthetic works via electrodes that detect the nerve signals that control muscle movement.

YOU! The Experience also marks the return of the Museum’s historic prenatal exhibit, which illustrates the wonders of human development, and has been reinterpreted in a new gallery. Original media presentations depict the development of the fetus in the womb, as well as how the mother’s body adapts with pregnancy. Nearly 30 other authentic human specimens and body slices, located throughout the exhibit space, highlight the extraordinary nature of the human body’s interconnected parts and systems. Included in these are 18 plastinated specimens—real human specimens from the creators of the blockbuster exhibit BODY WORLDS—as well as the Museum’s historical collection of Anatomical Slices.

Funded by the Museum’s Science Rediscovered capital campaign, the exhibit and related programs offer informal and formal learning consistent with the Illinois Learning Standards and the National Science Education Standards, and provided by the Museum’s Center for the Advancement of Science Education. Whether you’re a guest making the Giant Heart come alive with your pulse, a student exploring medical careers and technologies in the ER/OR Learning Lab, or a teacher trying a classroom lesson about digestion in a professional development workshop, everything you do in YOU! The Experience is designed to educate in coordination with current learning goals.

YOU! The Experience is made possible through the generosity of Abbott; the Abbott Fund, the philanthropic foundation of Abbott; and the Pritzker Foundation. Additional major funding provided by J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family, Mazza Foundation, and Robert S. and Susan E. Morrison.

YOU! The Experience is included in Museum Entry. The exhibit is permanently housed in Abbott Hall on the Museum’s North Balcony. 

About the Griffin Museum of Science and Industry

The Griffin Museum of Science and Industry (Griffin MSI) offers world-class and uniquely interactive experiences that support the Museum’s mission: to inspire the inventive genius in everyone. As one of the largest science museums in the world featuring award-winning exhibits and hands-on activities, a visit to Griffin MSI is guaranteed to connect fun and learning. Griffin MSI is committed to offering comprehensive educational programs—for students, administrators, teachers and families—that make a difference in local communities and contribute to Griffin MSI’s goal to transform and illuminate STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) pathways for people of all ages. The Museum is grateful for the support of its generous donors and guests, who make its work possible. Griffin MSI is also supported in part by the people of Chicago through the Chicago Park District. For more information, visit or call (773) 684-1414.

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YOU! The Experience is a 15,000-square-foot permanent exhibit that celebrates the human body, mind and spirit.

[J.B. Spector/Griffin Museum of Science and Industry]

Guests can run inside the exhibit’s human-sized Hamster Wheel and get real-time feedback on the body’s response to aerobic activity.

[J.B. Spector/Griffin Museum of Science and Industry]

At the virtual Giant Heart, guests can select and examine exterior and interior views of this amazing organ—and make the 13-foot-tall heart beat in time with their own.

[J.B. Spector/Griffin Museum of Science and Industry]

At the Get in the Action experience, virtual coaches teach hip-hop, basketball or tai chi moves.

[J.B. Spector/Griffin Museum of Science and Industry]

Nearly 30 authentic human specimens and body slices highlight the extraordinary nature of the human body’s interconnected parts and systems.

[J.B. Spector/Griffin Museum of Science and Industry]

Guests explore ideas of happiness in the contagious Laugh Garden.

[J.B. Spector/Griffin Museum of Science and Industry]

Images presented here are for the express use for promoting the Griffin Museum of Science and Industry. All images must be properly credited. Images may not be reproduced by third parties without express written permission from the Griffin Museum of Science and Industry.