There's trouble brewing at the Mutter.  Credit:  The College of Physicians in Philadelphia There's trouble brewing at the Mutter.
Credit: College of Physicians in Philadelphia

Fans of “CSI” and “NCIS” can test their crime-solving wits against real forensic scientists at "Murder at the Mutter: Outbreak!," a Mutter Museum event that’s part of the Philadelphia Science Festival.

But co-organizer Jacqui Bowman wants to issue a word of caution to those expecting an exact replica of the popular TV shows: “Real-life forensic scientists do not wear high heels or have their hair flowing.”

Participants will be greeted at the College of Physicians in Philadelphia, home to the Mutter, by a scene that could have been lifted straight from the hit movie “Contagion.”


Investigators believe that a dangerous pathogen may have been released into the area. One person has been attacked.

Participants get to deduce if there’s a virus on the loose – or something altogether more sinister.

Experts specializing in DNA, blood-splatter analysis, fingerprinting and other fields will be on hand to help with the crime solving and answer questions, says Bowman, a biological anthropologist who wrote her Ph.D. thesis on monkey teeth.

She won’t say how many will “die” or “become infected” with the pathogen by the end of the evening.

“The purpose of the event is for people to have fun with a serious subject. Instead of just listening to how we distinguish between fingerprints, they will actually do it,” she says.

Latest From ...