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CSI exhibit lets Davenport visitors solve crimes

- Associated Press - Saturday, March 8, 2014

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - The tourism advertising slogan says that what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

But with the opening of a new exhibit, what's happened in Vegas has left its DNA, fingerprints and fiber traces all over the Putnam Museum in Davenport.

"CSI: The Experience," based on TV's long-running, set-in-Vegas "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," puts would-be detectives through their paces at any of three different crime scenes.

Visitors can pick up a card for one of the three when they enter the exhibit, and then they investigate that crime scene throughout their stay.

"Once they've left their crime scenes, they head off to the Las Vegas Crime Department and start analyzing their information," Chris Chandler, the curator of natural science at the Putnam, told the Quad-City Times (http://bit.ly/1gGS90E).

Once the investigation begins, a large wall of crime scene photos helps the would-be CSIs. Cast members from the TV series, as well as real-life CSI personnel, appear on screens to educate visitors and guide the way.

After going through all of the ways to investigate the crimes, including an autopsy lab, they arrive outside the office of CSI Supervisor Gil Grissom (who was played by William Peterson, one of the original cast members on the long-running program).

After answering a series of questions, Grissom tells the visiting investigators whether or not they've successfully solved the crime.

"Sometimes the evidence you least expect gets you the best results," Grissom says on a video. "It may have been right under your nose."

Chandler said the exhibit is aimed at adults and children older than 12 years.

"People are fascinated by criminal minds," Chandler added.

Kim Findlay, the Putnam's president and CEO, said the exhibit's opening comes at a perfect time since the museum is readying the April 11 debut of its Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM, Center.

"It's really our responsibility at the Putnam to make sure we're presenting the most relevant, dynamic and, yes, fun aspects of science, technology, engineering and math," she said.

Also, spring is the busiest time of the year for school group tours, she said, with 15,000 to 20,000 students stepping into the museum.

Findlay said the exhibit also illustrates the different types of careers available to those who focus on science and math.

" 'CSI' just kind of extends that experience in a way that we all now are familiar with from watching the television show," she said.

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Information from: Quad-City Times, http://www.qctimes.com

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