The Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land will host the upcoming "Crime Lab Detective" exhibit.Unless there's more to it, this strikes me as a remarkably uncritical portrayal of forensic science at a moment in history when things considered "scientific" by law enforcement for many years have been called into question after actual science is applied to them. A National Academy of Sciences 2009 report was extremely critical of forensics specialists in what amount to subjective disciplines clinging to outdated, untested methods and calling it science, calling for a soup to nuts overhaul of forensic fields.
As part of the exhibit, the “Johnsons” have been away on a weeklong vacation to Hawaii. One of their neighbors noticed a broken window one morning and decided to investigate. Things had been moved and removed from inside the house. A burglary has occurred and its up to the public to solve the mystery.
In “Crime Lab Detective,” visitors are the lead detectives and are challenged to examine various clues, such as cloth fiber on a picket fence and tire marks, to help solve the crime. Whether working independently or as part of a team, the accompanying “Detective Notebook” will help guide guests through the process.
Humorously, last weekend I happened to take the granddaughter to the Children's Museum in Houston, which includes an exhibit that sounds like it's roughly as sophisticated at the one for adults in Sugar Land. Here are a few pics from that experience, all taken by your correspondent:
|Whodunnit? Kids solve the crime.|
|Mug shots of possible suspects.|
|Crime solving tools for kids.|
|Crime lab paraphernalia|
|Subjective forensics portrayed as science.|