PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Sela Ward stepped into the CSI exhibit at the Franklin Institute and instantly “Jo Danville”, the character she plays on “CSI: N.Y.”, came out.

“Well, the first thing you have to look for is blood splatter,” she said as she surveyed crime scene number one. “It is an interesting, fascinating career.”

She’s not talking about acting. She’s talking about life as a crime scene investigator.

The CSI exhibit, titled “CSI: The Experience”, consists of three crime scenes. The first is a mock up of a car crash. A late model sedan has slammed through a wall and landed in the middle of someone’s living room. The exhibit encourages visitors to search for clues and “solve the crime”.

Though Ward can rattle off CSI type jargon with ease, she confessed that understanding all that medical terminology was a real challenge in the beginning.

“To wrap my brain around dismemberment and blood splatter patterns and petechial hemorrhage in one eye. I was like, ‘oh my God, where have I landed?’”

She admits after reading her first “CSI: N.Y.” script, she tearfully told her husband it would be impossible to memorize. Ward has mastered the language now.

The second crime scene at the exhibit is of a dead waitress lying by a garbage can. A ripped photo is next to her. Ward jokingly launches into dialogue that her character on “CSI: N.Y.” might deliver.

“Well that poor actress, a waitress, her demise, trying to earn money for her career. The head shot, 8 by 10, glossy, torn in half, ripped apart. Why?”

She admits working on “CSI: N.Y.” has developed her eye for detail. She watches the news differently now, always trying to solve the mystery. Some judges have called that the CSI factor, the way shows like “CSI” have fooled viewers into believing they can “close the case” in 60 minutes.

Ward consults with working Crime Scene Investigators for the show and she knows it takes a lot longer than that to close a murder case. She says the show can certainly be informative but what she likes more than that is that CSI has made science sexy and she’s glad to play a role in that.

The CSI Exhibit at the Franklin Institute runs though January 2nd.

Reported by Anne-Marie Green, CBS 3

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