CSI: The Experience at COSI lets visitors become forensic scie

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 Messenger photos by Dedra Cordle

Reynoldsburg resident Ken Bringenberg looks for evidence at the crime scene, "A House Collided," part of COSI latest exhibit, "CSI: the Experience,"based on the popular television show, in which visitors solve crimes using forensic science.

 
CSI cast members Jon Wellner, left, and David Berman discuss aspects of the show at the May 24 opening.

Behind an old hotel in Las Vegas, the body of Penny Golden lies between the Dumpster and the bike rack. Her purse is on the ground with its contents spilled out, but the cash in her wallet remains untouched.

A small bag of drugs lies beside her arm.

Was Penny the victim of an accidental overdose? That could be, but what about those tire marks on her waitressing uniform? Was that done post-mortem, or was it a cover-up?

They say that the dead do not tell tales, but if you listen closely, as Gil Grissom says, the evidence is telling you a story.

Can you solve it?

With the new exhibit that opened on May 24 at the Center of Science and Industry (COSI), "CSI: The Experience," you become immersed in the world of forensic science.

"You really get the opportunity to try your hand at what it is like to be a real Crime Scene Investigator and see if you have the chops to figure out the crimes,""said Kelli Gaza Nowinsky, public relations manager for COSI.

The interactive exhibit brings to life fundamental scientific principles, numerous scientific principles and the most advanced technology and techniques used today by crime scene investigators and forensic scientists.

After sketching one of the three crime scenes, visitors review evidence within a cell phone, compare DNA samples, do latent prints, do ballistics and toxicology tests, and even visit an autopsy station to find out how ther victim died.

"This wasn’t at all what I expected," said Columbus resident Paula Williams. "I;m a big fan of CSI the television show so I wanted to come here and see what this was all about. I wasn’t expecting it to be this elaborate, or see anything on this grand of a scale."

With the cooperation of CBS and the creators of CSI, the exhibit was created by the Fort Worth Museum of Science and Industry. Because the museum was undergoing a renovation, the opening of "CSI: The Experience" debuted in Chicago, and from there traveled to Boston, Houston and now Columbus.

"This is a great opportunity not only for fans of the show to get up close and personal with replicas of the CSI  set, but it’s also a great opportunity to get in the heads of real Crime Scene Investigators," said David Berman, who plays assistant coroner David Philips on the highly rated show.

Nowinsky said they are expecting big crowds for "CSI: The Experience," estimating over 150,000 people will come to COSI and see the new exhibit.

"We are getting a lot of interest from schools all over the state because this is not something you can find in a text book," she said.

She also added that because of the subject matter, parental guidance is suggested, but they will not turn any family with young children away.

"It is definitely geared toward children aged 12 and over, but I would suggest letting younger children see the safer ‘No Bones About It’ " segment of the exhibit, Nowinsky suggested.

"CSI: The Experience" will run through Sept. 1, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $17.50, $15.50 for senior citizens, $12.50 for children 2 to 12. COSI is located at 333 West Broad Street.

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