Crime Scene Insects to Infest the Kalamazoo Valley Museum



A swarm of insects will invade the Kalamazoo Valley Museum when it hosts a new exhibit, "CSI: Crime Scene Insects." The exhibit dives into forensic entomology – using flies, maggots, beetles and other bugs to reveal critical details of a crime scene, a fascinating practice that plays a vital role in solving a variety of crimes. "CSI: Crime Scene Insects" runs from September 17, 2011 to January 1, 2012.

Inspired by the hit CSI television shows, this interactive exhibit explores criminal investigations through lively and hands-on components of forensic entomology. Visitors can observe real crime scene insects including carrion beetles, dermestid (flesh-eating) beetles, and blowflies and their maggots. There will also be live, interactive demonstrations on forensic insects, ranging from life cycles to the tools used to collect them as evidence.

To kick off the exhibit's opening, the museum is also hosting a child identification event, sponsored by Charter Media. SafeAssured Digital ID Kits will be available to local families at the museum between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17. The kits chronicle a child's appearance, movements, mannerisms, vocal qualities and DNA information on a mini-CD featuring digital photos, videos and fingerprints. Parents will be given photo ID cards with their child's information along with the mini-CD.

The CD will be encrypted so that only law enforcement can access the data, so the child's information can't fall into the hands of a predator if the disk is lost or stolen. The information from the kits can be placed almost immediately on community bulletin boards and websites by law enforcement, and sent out nationally through electronic means with the approval of a parent or legal guardian. It is a faster and more accurate way of distributing vital information when a child is missing. The kits are free and are available to the first 60 children who visit the SafeAssured booth at the KVM on Sept. 17. Officers from Kalamazoo Valley Community College‟s department of Public Safety will also be on hand that day to answer questions.

Museum director Bill McElhone said he expects both the ID program and the new exhibit to be popular. "Much of the world around us can be explored through real science investigations including solving crimes," said KVM Director Bill McElhone. "CSI TV shows are dramas that are very creative about the science used to solve a one-hour scenario, whereas the CSI: Crime Scene Insects exhibit offers our visitors, both young and old, a chance to go behind the scenes and learn how in the real world the natural behavior of bugs can be used as evidence in investigations."

The Kalamazoo Valley Museum is operated by Kalamazoo Valley Community College and is governed by its Board of Trustees.