JC London: Crime Scene Live at the National History Museum!

April 16, 2017

As you may have guessed by my posts on true crime podcasts and the like, I have quite the interest in criminology. I also love science, so the combination of the two and becoming a biomechanical expert, or going into forensic science has always been fascinating – in another life maybe that’s the career path I would have taken! Forensics has come such a long way in recent years. For example, thanks to the abundance of technological devices we encounter on a daily basis, we all leave behind a digital data trail that can be analyzed and used as evidence in court. Thanks to forensic data experts such as Secure Forensics, every little move we make online can be tracked and traced. It really is amazing.

My sister has always known about my love of forensics too, so very kindly bought us some tickets to Crime Scene Live at the Natural History Museum for my Christmas pressie! I waited patiently for it to come around where after a quick dinner at Comptoir Libanais, we headed to the museum.

I wasn’t sure what to expect but after heading to one of the smaller entrances, we went in and dropped our stuff in the cloak room. We then donned what can only be described as the most attractive of overalls, and some little blue booties to top it off. I was definitely feeling my crime fighting part. You can grab a drink as part of the ticket price so we got a wine and did some milling whilst we waited for everyone to arrive.

Once the cohort arrived – around 150 people in total, we all grouped together in the main hall and had our briefing – there had been a murder in the grounds of the Natural History Museum and we needed to solve it. In order to solve it, we would be split into three groups and go to three different stations around the museum to learn about forensics and the crime itself.

I don’t want to ruin the evening for you so there will be no spoilers here! You have to solve this crime yourself…! For the first section we headed down into the depths of the Natural History Museum to learn all about bugs. Yep, bugs and how they can help date a body after it has died. Obviously once someone (or an animal) has died, it’s natural for insects to come and make themselves at home. Then based on the age of the insects, you can try and age how long it’s been since the person died. We played with some maggots, flies, did some fancy things, and eventually came up with a time of death for our poor victim.

Onto our second station, this time led by the forensic scientists at the Met Police, it was time for some blood stain analysis. Something you hear about all the time in CSI and real crime shows, how the blood stains on the surrounding area can help tell the story about how the person died. Blood which is from someone being hit over the head looks very different to blood which has been breathed out. We saw a heap of examples and even a little demo before we did some analysis of our own to try and decode the story of what took place through our murder.

Finally, it was time to put all the pieces together in the evidence room, reading and listening to all of the witness statements and pouring through the case files. Here we pulled all the pieces together, tested our fingerprints and put together our theory on the case. By this time I was pretty sure I knew who did it – it was time to hear the big reveal!

At this point we had been at the Natural History Museum for a couple of hours and had done lots of wandering through the big halls. I have to say the museum is so much nicer at night when there aren’t any crowds and you can actually breathe and see all the exhibits! We then had a quick break and grabbed another drink whilst we sat in the restaurant and waited for everyone to finish making their conclusions.

Then it was time for the grand finale! We all met in the main theatre where the presenters for each of our sections did a little overview and answered some of the questions we had from each of the sections. Before it was time for the big reveal – happy to say I did my deductions correctly and identified the murderer!

Overall, we had such an awesome time at Crime Scene Live. I felt like I learnt so much – it was like being back in Uni and reminded me so much about how much I love to learn science. I really should try and go to events like this more often! If you are interested in going then they run evenings like this every month – they are sold out for the next couple of months but there are tickets available for later in the year!

Have you ever done an event at a museum?

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