‘Before forensics, DNA, and CSI we had dollhouses – an unimaginable collection of miniature crime scenes, known as the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death. Created in the 1930s and 1940s by a crime-fighting millionaire heiress grandmother Frances Glessner, the Nutshells helped homicide detectives hone their investigative skills. These surreal dollhouses reveal a dystopic and disturbing slice of domestic life with doll corpses representing actual murder victims, or perhaps something that just looks like murder. Despite all the advances in forensics, the Nutshells are still used today to train detectives.’
- Of Dolls and Murder
Having been a bit of a forensic science nerd since my preteen years, I'm surprised that I've never heard about these gruesome little "nutshell studies" before today when I stumbled upon this story on the amazingly fabulous How To Be A Retronaut.
A documentary film narrated by (who else?) John Waters explores the dioramas and their creator, Frances Glessner Lee, as well as the fact that these vintage dollhouses are still used to train detectives and forensics experts. Astounding.