Sunday, February 14, 2010

Tiny Murders


The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death were a series of intricately designed doll house-style dioramas created by Frances Glessner Lee, a millionaire heiress with an interest in forensic science.

She designed detailed scenarios, based on composites of real criminal acts, and presented them physically in miniature. Students were instructed to study the scene and draw conclusions from the evidence presented. Lee used her inheritance to set up Harvard's department of legal medicine, and donated the Nutshell dioramas in 1945 for use in her lectures on the subject of crime scene investigation. In 1966 the department was dissolved, and the dioramas went to the Maryland Medical Examiner’s Office; there, Harvard Magazine reports that they are still used for forensic seminars.

Of Dolls and Murder is a documentary film about a morbid collection of dollhouse crime scenes and society's collective fascination with death. The film is still fundraising to finish post-production

In the 1930s and 1940s, heiress Frances Glessner Lee, created dollhouse crime scenes to help train detectives in the art of reading crimes scenes. The dollhouses, known as The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, reside in Baltimore, Maryland, and are not open to the public.

The film follows how these intricate dioramas are still used to train homicide detectives, despite all the technological advances in death investigation. The dioramas also provided inspiration for The Miniature Killer, a recurring villain in season seven of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. The villain's modus operandi is to leave behind accurate dioramas of her crime scenes.

In a further exploration of morbid curiosity, the filmmakers also shadow a Baltimore City Homicide Detective, and visit The Body Farm, a famous forensic anthropology site in Tennessee where researchers study the decay of bodies.


Our Wildest Dreams said...

Thanks for blogging about the Nutshells and our film!

If you want to be updated regularly, please join our fan page on facebook

M.Christian said...

Will do -- and best of luck with your project!