Image: simple orange graphic of a running human with prosthetic legs. Text in orange: Bespoke Bodies / The Design & Craft of Prosthetics

Bespoke Bodies: The Design & Craft of Prosthetics

June 8, 2023 - April 7, 2024 Wylie Gallery

Bespoke Bodies: The Design & Craft of Prosthetics explores the past, present, and future of prosthetic design. The exhibition features stories from professional athletes, veterans, children, and other users who collaborated with prosthetists and designers to create prostheses with improved functionality, comfort, adaptability, and aesthetics.

Bespoke Bodies combines these experiences with contemporary and historical artifacts showcasing the innovations and impact of prosthetic design.

At the National WWI Museum and Memorial

The exhibition also features objects from the National WWI Museum and Memorial's collection of artifacts from the Great War – a pivotal time in the field of prosthetics. The artifacts provide a unique historical context to explore urgent contemporary conversations around design and disability.

Black and white photograph of a man with two prosthetic arms standing in a workshop in front of tables and cabinets that have other prosthetics on them.


Wounded soldier with two prosthetic arms undergoing instruction in a workshop of the Hindenburg House in Königsberg, East Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia).

Entry on the Online Collections Database

Modern photograph of a man wearing a camouflage uniform sitting on the ground leaning against a wall. His left leg is extended and pant leg pulled up to reveal that it is a modern prosthesis, wearing a khaki-colored work boot.

Corporal Garrett S. Jones

Over 1,650 U.S. troops have suffered limb loss during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. With the help of military, medical, and social agencies, Veterans Affairs’s amputee-centric research aims to enhance patient mobility and comfort, prevent injury, and improve the design and function of prostheses.

The VA is dedicated to improving the current standard of care when it comes to the design of prosthetics. Their Center for LimbLoss and MoBility is focused on improving prosthetic prescription by investigating the efficacy of prosthetic components used in current clinical practice, and developing novel approaches to improve performance and care.

Photography by Sergeant Ray Lewis courtesy of the U.S. Army

Visitors are invited to explore the evolution of prosthetic devices through visual stories, historical timelines, and videos. These stories demonstrate that when more perspectives of people who use prostheses are part of the creation process, the better the design.

Bespoke Bodies features close to 50 examples from around the world – spanning a prosthetic arm with a lego attachment to mind-controlled bionic limbs – with stories of professional athletes, veterans, and children who became part of their own design process.



Modern photograph of a display case showing several eye prostheses.

Ocular and facial prosthesis

Boston Ocular Prosthetics provides a multitude of services to patients with physical and visual disabilities. Individuals who are missing an eye as a result of trauma or illness or who are born with a facial difference can be fitted for an ocular prosthesis, while others who may have missing ears or noses can receive maxillofacial prosthetics.

Modern photograph of a middle-aged white woman with brown hair looking into a lighted mirror, applying an eye prosthesis to her right eye
Black and white photograph of a plainly-dressed white woman standing in a workshop surrounded by masks and mannequin heads. She is holding paintbrushes or other delicate tools working on a mask being worn by a man seated in front of her.

Anna Coleman Ladd

Anna Coleman Ladd at work on a facial prosthetic piece in the American Red Cross Studio for Portrait Masks for Mutilated Soldiers.

Entry in the Online Collections Database

Developed with a committee of advisors made up of people who use and create prostheses, Bespoke Bodies aims to broaden conversations around disability and design. The exhibition considers traditional artificial limbs and a wide range of physical, aesthetic, and cognitive innovations. It features advancements in medicine, robotics, sensors, and 3D printing that have transformed what’s possible for the future of human mobility.



Modern photograph of a young Black person with short curly hair holding an artificial hand and forearm out to the viewer

LimbForge 3D-printed arm

A LimbForge patient in Haiti named Ebe, with her 3D-printed prosthetic arm. Ebe’s prosthesis is an evolved version originally crafted by Arthur Hobson and Jeff Erenstone. LimbForge is an organization dedicated to aiding the shortage of prosthetic rehabilitation in the developing world.

Photography courtesy of LimbForge

Modern photograph of a wooden artificial hand and forearm

Wooden carrying hand

"Openshaw" wooden carrying hand with a tenon thumb. A special feature of the hand is that the ring and little fingers are held rigid, in a slightly flexed position, with steel reinforcement which extends into the palm. This allows bags and other objects to be carried.

Entry in the Online Collections Database

Modern photograph - closeup on the palm and curved fingers of a wooden artificial hand
Modern photograph of two silver-colored bionic arms. One is lying on the table. The other is attached to a wooden mannequin torso, and is making a thumbs-up gesture.


The LUKE Arm, developed by DARPA and DEKA Integrated Solutions, offers new levels of dexterity and flexibility to upper-limb prosthetic users. “LUKE,” which stands for Life Under Kinetic Evolution, is also a reference to the limb with which Luke Skywalker was endowed in "The Empire Strikes Back".

Modern studio photograph of a young white woman with long blonde hair wearing a blue dress sitting sideways in a small armchair. Her left forearm and hand look like clear frosted glass.


Model Kelly Knox with her Synchronised prosthetic arm. A collaborative design by Sophie de Oliveira Barata (The Alternative Limb Project) & Dani Clode for Kelly Knox.

Photography by Omkaar Kotedia

Modern photograph of a leather, wood and metal prosthetic leg on display in a museum

Antique Prosthetic Leg

Estimated to be from the era of WWI, this leg exemplifies the mechanical and material construction of the time.


Custom Leg Covers

Custom leg covers from ALLELES Design Studio are revolutionizing the prosthetics industry and empowering people with limb loss around the world. By shifting the conversation from one about function to style, their cover revamps traditional prosthetics and highlights the importance of individualized expression.

Modern photograph of a modern-day cover for a prosthetic leg - an ivory color with art noveau floral designs in blue and gold



Presented by Bank of America logo

Exhibition Honorary Chairs


Billy Brimblecom Jr.
Brian Lore
Lindsey Roy
Dr. Charles Van Way III

Honorary Committee

Gold Level

Hallmark Cards Inc.

Dr. Charles Van Way III

Silver Level

Knit-Rite LLC

Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund

Bronze Level

Dr. Peter Greenspan

Hanger Clinic

Kansas City Orthopaedic Institute

Dr. Susan and Dr. Charles Porter

Drs. Michella and Michael Stiles


Image: a graphic of a capital 'D' dissolving into small squares. Text: Design Museum Everywhere

Bespoke Bodies: The Design and Craft of Prosthetics is presented in collaboration with Design Museum Everywhere.

To learn how you can support this exhibition, or how to become a member of the exhibition Honorary Committee, contact Paige Gammon at