RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Outsiders got a peek at part of the state crime lab as part of a rare open house during National Forensic Science Week.

The public got to see sort of a science fair for adults, with exhibits set up in the first-floor lobby. The real work though goes on upstairs in the labs.

There’s a state-of-the-art chemistry and toxicology lab that just opened three months ago. Forensic biology stations are upstairs along with a reference collection of handguns, once used in crimes, which now aid ballistic experts.

It’s the kind of stuff that attracts NC Central forensic student Cierra Bennett.

“My mom, she used to love crime shows,” she said. “I was like, Mom, I want to do this.”

The state has about 160 scientists working in the Raleigh crime lab and they could use someone like Bennett when she graduates.

CBS 17 asked the Assistant Director of the State Crime Lab if the facility was overloaded in any one discipline with a lot of backlogs.

“We have the highest number of cases residing in the drug chemistry section,” said Amanda Thompson. “That historically has been the case due to the volume of submissions in that particular discipline.”

Those backlogs average about two weeks to a month she said.

In the past, there have been massive backlogs involving rape kits.

“We have approximately about a year turnaround right now on those,” said Thompson. “We are working through the inventory kits that are the product of the survivor acts. We’re analyzing the last of those.”

Thompson says they will be done by December of this year and then “we will be working diligently to reduce the turnaround on all other types of DNA cases, including current sexual assault.”

The state budget for the lab isn’t enough to cover all the costs of equipment so it relies on $8-$12 million in grant money to supplement its equipment needs.

The lab has planned for growth in the coming years.

With an increasing population and crime rate, the lab is working on adding staff and facilities to try and keep up with evidence submissions.