Twentieth Century Forensics

Gabe McKeithen, Author

In order to teach her students about deaths by natural causes and the history of Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Barbara Ward organized a field trip to the Houston Museum of Natural Science on Tues., Aug. 28.

“The point of the trip was to learn about causes of death and the history of Sherlock Holmes,” junior Samantha Stubblefield said, “[The field trip] was both educational and entertaining.”

For a total of five hours, and with almost one-hundred students, Dr. Ward led her Forensics classes from exhibit to exhibit explaining how forensic science and deaths come together to solve the crime.

“I learned a lot of new things about weird causes of deaths,” Stubblefield said, stating that her “favorite part of the exhibits were the interactive parts.”

One of these interactive events was an exhibit that allowed students to look around a room, searching for evidence and cross-examining items they found to solve the crime that was committed.

“My favorite part of the exhibit was this one painting that depicted what it was like to have the disease Ergotism,” senior Annie Humphreys said. Humphreys further explained that ergotism was a poison that a lot of people got from eating bread that had developed ergo in the grain. The disease causes the host to develop gangrene in the extremities and see hallucinations.

The museum also included other facts such as the odds of being struck by lighting compared to being shot by a dog with shotgun.

“I would say [the trip] was more entertaining than educational,” senior Andre Vega said.

Students learned about forensics while having fun, exploring the ins and outs of forensic science and how it has evolved since the 20th century. The newfound knowledge will aid the students in Dr. Ward’s class later in the year.

“The trip was very worthwhile and I had an absolute blast,” senior Rylan Dozier said, “I learned some very interesting ways on how to examine DNA the way it was done in the 1900’s.”