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Crime Scene Live review: Forensic fun at Natural History Museum

16:39 21 October 2015

Maggot racing was among the activities on offer

Maggot racing was among the activities on offer

Archant

A dead body has been found in the grounds of the Natural History Museum – and it’s up to you and a team of amateur sleuths to solve the crime.

Fingerprinting was an important part of the investigationFingerprinting was an important part of the investigation

That’s the engaging premise of Crime Scene Live, an after-hours event at the iconic South Kensington museum which blends science with murder mystery.

After donning crime scene suits we were given sheets of paper to write our “investigator notes” and ushered into a lecture theatre to be briefed.

Scribbling away furiously, we were told that our task was solving who had killed the woman found in the museum’s wildlife garden. Cue the Sherlock theme tune playing in my head on repeat.

After being split into three groups, we were ready to begin our investigation to decide which of our two suspects was guilty and which of two potential victims had come to an untimely end.

First up was a bit of botany to determine whether vegetation found on one of the suspect’s shoes had originated from the museum garden. Experts patiently explained how to use the microscopes but I was eager to get on to something more gutsy.

Next it was time for some forensic entomology – using insects to help date the corpse. I had no idea of the vital part maggots had to play in forensics so this proved a (slightly squeamish) eye-opener.

We then studied the bones to identify who had been killed, before ending the night with a trial which included a cross-examination by real-life barristers – helping put into context all of the “hard work” that we’d put in on the night.

I was hoping for a bit more blood and gore but I was really impressed with the experts’ enthusiasm and there was a great atmosphere.

The eerie emptiness of the museum made it all the more chilling, making it truly a Friday night with a difference.

Dates for the next Crime Scene Live event will be announced soon. Visit nhm.ac.uk/after-hours to find out more or email after-hours@nhm.ac.uk for updates.

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