The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death are not for the faint of heart. In the 1940s, Chicago heiress Frances Glessner Lee recreated crime scene models on a one-inch-to-one-foot scale. These now-historic macabre dioramas were built to be used as police training tools to help crime scene investigators learn the art and science of detailed forensics-based detection. And they are now in Baltimore.
Each tiny death scene shows immense care and attention to detail. Some scenes were inspired by real-life cases with only names and select circumstances changed. The scenes were researched through news reports and interviews with those involved in the investigation. The construction was just as meticulous, with tiny hand knitted sweaters and miniscule cigarette butts made from real tobacco.
The collection of deathly dioramas is now in the possession of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Maryland, where they continue to be used as training tools. Join us as Mr. Bruce Goldfarb shares the history of the Nutshells and how they found their way to Baltimore.
Our tour will also include the “Kay Scarpetta House.” Detective novelist Patricia Cornwall donated this life-sized “house,” named after the medical examiner heroine in her novels. Here, using a bloody mannequin, investigators create death scene scenarios for inspectors to solve.
We will meet at the reception desk on the fourth floor of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.