Some 12,000 people came to the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, Fla., during the first four days of a controversial exhibit featuring preserved human cadavers and body parts from China.
"BODIES, the Exhibition," showcasing human bodies preserved and posed so visitors can see their inner workings, broke records for the museum set in December 2003 when artifacts from the Titanic were displayed.
The 20 cadavers and 260 other body parts brought from the Dalian Medical University of Plastination Laboratories in China are preserved with a process that replaces human tissue with silicone rubber. Skin is removed, exposing the rest - muscles, bones, organs, tendons, blood vessels and brains.
The exhibit came under fire from a state regulatory board whose members were uncomfortable that no permission was obtained from the deceased or their families to display the bodies in the museum.
The bodies were unclaimed or identified before being turned over a Chinese medical school that performed the "plastination."
Organizers have said the exhibit will lead to a better understanding of the human body and motivate people to take better care of themselves.
A one-day attendance record was broken Saturday when 5,917 people saw the corpse exhibit, surpassing the previous record of 3,500 visitors that viewed the Titanic exhibit, the AP reports.