The “Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death” is a series of 20 dollhouse-style dioramas created by an American Forensic scientist, Frances Glessner Lee. The detailed constructions of scale 1 inch to 1 foot, presented death scenes of real-life court cases. They are built as a training tool for the investigators because it was hard to practice training in an actual crime scene environment and these practices are necessary for the investigator to develop detective skills. Glessner Lee created these miniature models based on selective cases, including prostitutes and victims of domestic violence. She wanted to teach detective-in-training that nothing should be taken at face value. The final purpose of the model was to solve the case but to practice observing skills and critical evaluations of evidence.
Glessner Lee called them by the name from a well-known police saying that Convict the guilty, clear the innocent, and find the truth in a nutshell.”
to make the miniature rooms as precise and detailed as possible, most of the furniture was made by lee herself from scratch. it took a year to build about three models. the bodies and clothes of the miniature corpses were made by Lee and their faces were painted in tone to indicate how long the person had been dead. Lee believed that if the police notice some imperfections, they will question the credibility of the models.