Second true crime event at the Ohio History Center

With shows like Criminal Minds and NCIS, watchers are captivated by the science behind crime-scene investigations. The disturbing, yet gripping, tales of true crime intrigue fans of Making a Murderer and Serial.

On September 8 from 7-10 p.m., those true-crime fanatics can step into the intersection of criminology and history at “History After Hours: Monsters, Mysteries and Mayhem” at the Ohio History Center.   

At the event, attendees can try their hand at extracting evidence from a crime scene using only 1950s-era forensics, examine mug shots of real inmates from the Ohio Penitentiary and dive into the minds of some of the most notorious—and nefarious—Ohio criminals.

“If you have an interest in kind of the darker, seedier side of history… you have an opportunity to really nerd out with real collections from Ohio history,” says Emmy Beach, spokesperson for Ohio History Connection.

This is the second “History After Hours” event, the first being in April. The idea is to offer an event specifically for adults, discussing historical aspects of Ohio events usually left out when speaking to a family audience, Beach says. It allows audiences intrigued by these niche topics to explore the history behind the crimes.

The September event has myriad new exhibits and interactive activities to fill the three-hour event. The 1950s Lustron home from the Ohio History Center’s museum will be transformed into a crime scene. Another station will discuss embalming practices from the 19th century, and a miniature “nutshell” crime scene will be on display, a tribute to Frances Glessner Lee, the mother of forensic science. 

“We really bring a unique lens to this because, certainly, we're talking about history, but it's got a local focus,” Beach says. “Everyone can kind of relate to the stories that we're telling and know exactly the places that we're highlighting, and it's more personal that way.”

One of these new elements might give people the “heebie-jeebies,” Beach says. Working with the center’s natural history curator, there will be an exhibit of flesh-eating beetles, the under-appreciated critters responsible for cleaning skeletons and other once-living collections and making them of “museum quality,” she says.

Despite the focus on the dark side of Ohio history, Beach says this is more of a light-hearted event. “It’s spooky, but definitely not scary,” she says. “If you're interested in this topic and these subject matters, I think it'll be a really fun evening.”

The event is for adults ages 21 and older and will be at the Ohio History Center. Tickets are $20 for Ohio History Connection members and $25 for non-members, and they can be purchased at www.ohiohistory.org.  There will also be a cash bar featuring drinks authentic to Ohio.

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