'CSI' exhibit to tour science museums

Crime franchise teaches forensics at Museum of Science

“CSI” has added to its list of spinoffs with
a museum exhibit showcasing the skein’s forensic science.

By Josef Adalian
January 2, 2007

Get ready for "CSI: Chicago."

CBS's omnipresent crime franchise is expanding again, setting up shop this spring in the Windy City. Rival webheads worried about facing another edition of the successful skein can relax, however.

That's because the latest chapter in the "CSI" story isn't headed for the small screen. It's an interactive museum exhibit designed to teach adults -- and older kids -- about the wonders of forensic science.

When it opens May 25 at Chi's Museum of Science and Industry, visitors will be fully immersed in the world of "CSI" techs. They'll be able to gather evidence from fake crime scenes, then test it inside lab and autopsy rooms. Guiding them through the process will be pre-recorded video messages from various stars of the three "CSI" skeins, as well as a multimedia presentation boasting the same special effects wizardry seen on the shows.

After spending the summer in Chi, "The 'CSI' Experience" will begin a national tour of science museums in September. Exhibit is expected to continue touring for up to seven years.

Former Disney Imagineer Bob Weis, who helped design Disney-MGM Studios and the new Top of the Rock at NBC headquarters in Gotham, is co-producing the exhibit with feature producer Cynthia Scrima.

"CSI" creator Anthony Zuiker has also been involved in creating the exhibit, which is funded by a partnership that includes the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, CBS Consumer Products and the National Science Foundation. The NSF has pitched in $2.4 million to fund the exhibit and a "CSI"-themed science Web site created at Rice U. that's geared to young people.

CBS Consumer Products topper Ken Ross said the Eye wanted to make sure the exhibit didn't depart too far from the "CSI" brand.

"It was essential that the integrity of the show was upheld in this endeavor," he said.

Scrima, who helped design a similar museum exhibition tied to "Titanic," said the "CSI" exhibit has taken well over a year to develop, including the process of gaining approval from all the parties involved.

"A year ago last August we flew to New York and pitched the idea to CBS and Anthony," she said. "Anthony was very high on the idea of marrying entertainment and education."

Scrima's upcoming features include "Gucci," which Ridley Scott is attached to direct for Paramount. Weis' company is currently renovating Graceland for CKX and completing projects for the U.S. Navy, the Smithsonian and NASA.