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'Bodies' exhibit to open Thursday morning

MOSI will stage the controversial exhibit despite a state board ruling issued today. It opens two days earlier than scheduled.

Published August 17, 2005

GAINESVILLE - Hours after the state Anatomical Board denied approval to a public display of posed cadavers today, the Museum of Science and Industry announced that the exhibit will open at 9 a.m. Thursday.

That's 48 hours ahead of schedule.

"Fortunately for the people of Tampa we are finished early and we are ready to open to the public," promoter Premier Exhibitions of Atlanta said in a prepared statement.

The Anatomical Board, which has statutory oversight of bodies used for medical research and education, took a stand against "Bodies, the Exhibition" during an emergency meeting in Gainesville on Wednesday afternoon and called on Attorney General Charlie Crist to back the ruling.

"We've taken our position," said executive director Lynn J. Romrell, "and now it's up to the attorney general to enforce the law."

Told of the board's 4-2 vote, Crist said he did not plan to seek an injunction to keep the exhibit from opening. Nor did he expect to take legal action against MOSI or Premier Exhibitions. He said that would be up to the board.

"Our rule on this was to render an opinion as to whether the board has jurisdiction," Crist said. "There's two parties that remain in this at this time: the museum and the board. Either of those two parties can appeal to a court."

However, Crist's office asked the board to provide notes of the discussion that took place prior to the ruling - and the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office also expressed modest interest.

"We'll be reviewing the opinions of the Anatomical Board and attorney general Crist to determine if there are any potential violations of Florida law," said spokeswoman Pam Bondi.

[Last modified August 17, 2005, 20:12:24]

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