Forensics Class Visits Baltimore OCME and Frances Glessner Lee's Nutshells

By Aradeal H. ’26 and Moriah F. ’24

Dr. Tuttle's Forensics class went on a field trip to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) in Baltimore, MD. We went to study the Nutshell exhibits made by Frances Glessner Lee. Nutshells are small replications of crime scenes that help to educate classes and serve as training for forensic investigators. We were able to see the Nutshells and an impressive presentation offering insight into the OCME and explaining how they differ from what’s depicted on television.
The Nutshells contained a lot of information, which meant you had to be a modern-day Sherlock Holmes and solve them yourself. There were small plaques with approximately a paragraph or more describing the circumstances surrounding the crime. These helped give us the necessary information on the crime scene and the background of the crime. We walked around in our groups and discussed what could be the answer to these crimes. We also heard an informative presentation on the differences between states (medical examiner vs. coroner), the work they do, and the cases the office receives and accepts. 

Our Forensics class is working on a project inspired by Lee’s Nutshells, so Dr. Tuttle thought our class should see the real thing for inspiration. We learned a lot about the Nutshells and gained a better understanding of what the OCME does as a whole and what it takes to analyze not just the crime scene but also the cases and circumstances surrounding them. 

This was an amazing experience and extremely helpful to provide background to our current project and learn about the field and work of a forensic investigator. 
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