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August 21, 2014, 3:59 pm

Forensics comes to Franklin Institute

There’s a crime taking place at The Franklin Institute, and you are invited to solve it. The region’s latest exhibition, “CSI: The Experience,” is completely immersible and invites visitors to step into the world of cutting-edge forensic science and employ actual investigative techniques. Guided by investigators from the hit television show along with their real-life forensic science counterparts, visitors will investigate a crime scene, formulate a hypothesis, collect and analyze forensic evidence, validate their findings to build a case — and see if they can solve the crime.

As visitors enter the “Experience,” they take on the role of forensic scientists and are directed into a crime scene and challenged to identify and gather evidence. Once complete, they analyze those findings in two highly interactive labs, each featuring multiple stations that allow for a variety of evidence testing. Visitors will get one last look under the skin as the medical examiner goes over their case in the autopsy room. Finally, they use the scientific information gathered throughout the exhibit to answer a series of questions on touch screens. After completing the survey, a case summary is generated and they can compare their scientific findings to those of expert crime scene investigators.

“CSI: The Experience” was developed by the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History and Bob Weis Design Island Associates with support from CBS Consumer Products, the cast and crew of the television show and the National Science Foundation. The “Experience” brings to life fundamental scientific principles, numerous scientific disciplines and the most advanced technology and techniques used today by crime scene investigators and forensic scientists. Through hands-on activities with real equipment, as well as multi-media presentations, guests will sample the following science fields and understand their role in cracking crimes.

After exiting the crime scenes, guests will refer to a large wall of crime scene photos and clues they may have missed — then begin to analyze evidence in two highly interactive lab areas, each featuring multiple stations that allow for various evidence testing.

Guests who are investigating “A House Collided” will compare fingerprints of the victim to  the evidence, examine blood spatter patterns, observe the shoes of the victim and tracks found in the room, compare fibers on the victim’s clothes with fibers in the room, analyze the victim’s blood-alcohol level, compare DNA of the victim with evidence and eventually discover the cause of death. Those examining the “Who Got Served?” crime scene will review evidence within the cell phone, examine the contents of the handbag, inspect the purse and headshot for fingerprints, establish the time of death, review DNA samples and test powder from various items at the scene, all to help determine the cause of death. Visitors analyzing “No Bones About It” will scrutinize the bullet from the found skull, study hairs found with the body, examine a seed found in the fabric of the tattered shirt, test the DNA of an animal’s hair and compare dental records to the victim, in order to discover the cause of death.

At the end of the exhibit, visitors present their findings in a recreation of the office of Gil Grissom — the enigmatic CSI Supervisor. They’ll be asked to answer a series of multiple choice questions, based on their scientific findings, on touch screens located in this area. After completing these questions, they’ll receive feedback and see if they have cracked the case.

“CSI: The Experience” runs from Oct. 1 to Jan. 2 at The Franklin Institute, 222 North 20th Street. Tickets are timed and dated, and advance ticket purchase is strongly recommended. For more information on purchasing individual tickets, call (877) TFI-TIXS or visit Information on discounted tickets for groups of 15 or more is available at (800) 285-0684.


Contact Tribune staff writer Bobbi Booker at (215) 893-5749 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .