oregon museum of science and industry

On Tuesday of my Portland trip, I headed to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry for the day. It was an easy and scenic walk from downtown. I walked straight east to the waterfront then headed south on the nice sidewalk along the river. When I got to the Hawthorne Bridge (the green bridge shown below), I took it across to the other side of the Willamette River.


There is a safe area along both sides of the bridge for bikers and walkers, which is great. Once on the other side, I took the sidewalk further south until I reached the museum.


Since I was little, I have always loved crime dramas and science fiction shows like CSI, The X Files, Sliders, Law & Order, etc. So, the exhibit I most wanted to see at OMSI was CSI: The Experience.

At the start of the exhibit, each visitor is given one of three crime scenes: a suburban living room, a hotel alley or a remote desert. There is a display with the actual crime scene, which is accompanied by a video proposing a challenge to identify, gather, and analyze evidence to solve the crime by the end of the exhibit. I got “No Bones About It!” in which a hiker has stumbled across what looks like a human skull sticking out of the ground.


While walking through the exhibit, I analyzed the bullet from the found skull, analyzed hairs found with the body, examined a seed found in the fabric of the tattered shirt, tested the DNA of an animal’s hair, and compared dental records to the victim. At the end of the exhibit, I presented my findings by answering a series of multiple choice questions. If I got all of them right, I cracked the case... I didn't. There were so many kids running around from the many summer groups that were visiting the museum that it was quite difficult to actually do any of the experiments...One helpful girl started slamming all the tops of the test tubes down with a "bam, bam, bam" sound effect and concluded with "that's how you do it" while I was in the middle of one experiment. And, another nice young boy started answering questions for me on the computer screen while I was doing a different experiment. I don't have any children yet, but I imagine there is some truth to the saying that everyone loves kids, but only when they're your own (or they're your sisters kids). Ha.

The experiment I enjoyed most was one in which Dr.Robbins is performing autopsies on the bodies. A video was playing behind the autopsy table so it looked like Dr.Robbins was actually standing there. When he got to different parts in the autopsy, images would be projected on the cadaver...



I also liked the displays to make it feel like you were in an actual lab like...

Gil Grissom's office


ledges and a cabinet filled w/ labratory supplies, and a test kit




One of my other favorite parts were the actual diaromas used in the miniature killer episodes...







Interspersed with the experiments, there was general information about criminal science. I especially liked this image showing sketches of what an abducted boy might look like later and what he actually looked like once found. Crazy how close the adult photo looks like the sketches!


If you're in the Portland area, the exhibit runs through September 13th.

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