Saturday, May 25, 2013

Brain Matters


Thanks to a post in BangBangBangalore, I got to know that there is a Brain Museum in this city. We went there this morning bursting with curiosity. We stared slightly dazed and bewildered at different kinds of largely unlabelled brain specimens on the shelves and threw wild speculations at each other. 
Then to our luck Prof. Shankar, the man who had created the museum, came in and asked us, ‘Would you like to touch a real human brain?’
What do you make of someone who asks you a question like that? But Prof. Shankar was serious. And he had already decided we were going to touch a brain. He opened a basin in the corner, removed a human brain and two hearts and placed it on a tray in front of us.
He asked us to hold it and placed it in our hands, he showed us how a brain was placed inside a human skull, he explained the structure of the brain to us.

Then, he asked us to wash our hands and walked with us around the museum explaining the different kinds of brains on display there. We got to see the brain of a person with an aneurysm, a schizophrenic’s brain, a cross-section of a speckled brain eaten up by tapeworms, the damaged brain of a person in a scooter accident, brain with green moss like stuff growing in it and many many more brains each one exhibited there for a specific reason. There was a duck’s brain, a tiny rat’s brain and the small smooth white brain of a four-week baby. 
Disturbing, some of you might say, I thought I would never be able to stomach holding a human brain in my hands, but I did, and thanks largely to Prof.Shankar’s enthusiastic and fascinating explanations, both P and I left the museum with a feeling of awareness and a sense of awe for what is within us which enables us to function as we do.

Thank you also Andy Deemer, BangBangBangalore has indeed taken me, a true blue Bangalorean beyond the Bull Temple. Who knows, one day I might even visit the Rajkumar Memorial.


The Brain Museum is at NIMHANS, near the library. It is open on Saturdays 10am-3pm.


11 comments:

Priyanka S said...


I love visiting - and reading - about all kinds of museums, especially those which focus on thinking out of the box and strive to engage with their audience in an unique fashion. But a Brain museum and that too accompanied by an opportunity to engage with a flesh and blood brain?:) A concept at its radical best...

I will be visiting Bangalore in few months time and I would definitely like to drop by the museum - your post has gotten me intrigued:)

pRiyA said...

Hello Priyanka, I think I was very lucky to have had Prof. Shankar present during my visit to explain the exhibits to me. I don't think all visitors get the opportunity to hear his expertise on the subject.
I hope you get to meet him during your visit.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Utterly fascinating. what a learning experience.

pRiyA said...

Yes Gwen, it was.

ArtPropelled said...

I feel a little queasy at the thought but agree it must have been fascinating. A terrible thought of tapeworms munching in one's brain ... Ugh.

pRiyA said...

It was indeed Robyn. But I make sure to double wash my vegetables and double wash my hands after my learning session at the brain museum.

Tororo said...

Thanks for this most unusual post! Trying to figure out what we could look like from inside is such an uncanny experience; you were lucky to have an enthusiastic person helping you with (and we were to have you sharing with us!).

pRiyA said...

I was lucky indeed Tororo. And has been a pleasure to share this unusual experience.

Karine Swenson said...

Wow - I have never even heard of a brain museum before. Amazing that you held a human brain. Thanks for taking us with you!

David Hughes said...

Fascinating. Wish I could have been there to share such a privileged experience. By the way Priya first time I've seen your excellent blog. Inspiring, David.

Priya Sebastian said...

Thank you for visiting and writing such a nice comment David. You've made my day :)