Nutshell Studies

Door: Frances Glessner Lee.

“Through the creative genius of Frances Glessner Lee, first female police captain in America and crime scene investigator-extraordinaire.

During the 1940s and 50s, Lee spent years creating the ‘Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death’, 19 (originally 20) painstakingly-accurate dioramas to train budding forensic investigators on the crucial skills of crime scene observation and analysis. Each model cost between $3000 – $4,500 to produce and were based on real crime scenes and autopsies Lee encountered throughout her career. She spent countless hours recreating her miniature macabre worlds, including real working doors and windows, and complete sets of clothes for each victim.

The Nutshells are incredibly accurate representations of real unexplained deaths – Lee only changed small details to protect the privacy of the victims. Each figure’s position and appearance accurately reflects biological processes specific to the time and cause of death, and tiny details such as clothing fibres or a miniature bullet casing give clues to what happened.”

Aldus Hibbins op