National Museum of Crime & Punishment

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Crime Museum
National Museum of Crime & Punishment is located in Washington, D.C.
National Museum of Crime & Punishment
Location within Washington, D.C.
Established May 23, 2008

575 7th Street NW

Washington, DC
Coordinates 38°53′49″N 77°01′18″W / 38.897°N 77.0216°W / 38.897; -77.0216
Public transit access WMATA Metro Logo.svg           Gallery Place-Chinatown

The Crime Museum is a privately owned museum dedicated to the history of criminology and penology in the United States.[1][2] It is found in the Penn Quarter neighborhood of Washington, D.C., half a block south of the Gallery Place station. The museum was opened in May 2008 and was built by Orlando businessman John Morgan in partnership with John Walsh, host of America's Most Wanted, at a cost of US$ 21 million.[2] Unlike most museums in Washington, DC, the Crime Museum is a for-profit enterprise.[3]

More than 700 artifacts in 28,000 square feet (2,600 m2) of exhibition space relate the history of crime, and its consequences, in America and American popular culture.[4][5] The museum features exhibits on colonial crime, pirates, Wild West outlaws, gangsters, the Mob, mass murderers, and white collar criminals. Twenty-eight interactive stations include the high-speed police chase simulators used in the training of law enforcement officers, and a Firearms Training Simulator (F.A.T.S.) similar to that utilized by the FBI.[6]

The galleries[edit]

The main floor is devoted to a staged crime scene investigation where a murder has taken place. Visitors to the museum are guided through the process of solving the crime through forensic science techniques, including ballistics, blood analysis, finger printing and foot printing, and dental and facial reconstruction.[7]

The museum includes a mock police station with a booking room, celebrity mug shots, police line-up, lie detector test, prisoners' art and self-created devices for injury and escape, and a re-creation of the jail cell of Al Capone at the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. A capital punishment room offers a re-creation of a guillotine and gas chamber, along with an authentic lethal injection machine from the state prison in Smyrna, Delaware, and an electric chair from the Tennessee State Prison in Nashville which was used for 125 executions.[8]

The crime-fighting gallery draws attention to such notables as founding FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, and the legendary law enforcement agent Eliot Ness. It also includes the uniforms, firearms, and restraining equipment of law enforcement officers, as well as exhibits on bomb squad and night vision technologies.

America's Most Wanted studio[edit]

The museum also served as the television studio for America's Most Wanted, a long-running (1988–2013) television series that dramatized unsolved crimes. The television program led to the capture of more than 1,000 fugitives (16 from the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives) due to the crime tips reported by the public when criminals were profiled.[9] Surrounding the studio are exhibits on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and McGruff the Crime Dog, as well as a Cross Match Technologies station for child finger printing. Due to the series now being shot on location, the studio is now used as an interactive exhibit in which visitors can solve a crime.

Highlighted Attractions[edit]

CSI Lab: Enter a crime scene and interact to solve the case in a real crime scene lab
FBI Agent Training: Practice your aim in a simulated FBI shooting range
High Speed Police Simulator: Drive in a police academy training pursuit
Authentic Artifacts: Auxiliary, electric chair, gas chamber, prison art, and jail cells
Notorious Criminals: Legendary pirates, the mob, Wild West outlaws, and serial killers
Digital Fingerprinting for Children With Printout ID Cards
America's Most Wanted Stage Set and John Walsh Interactive

Crime Museum Mission[edit]

The mission is to provide guests of all ages with a memorable insight into our Nation's history of crime and its consequences, law enforcement, forensic science, crime scene investigation (CSI) through a captivating interactive, entertaining and educational experience.



External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°53′49″N 77°01′18″W / 38.897°N 77.0216°W / 38.897; -77.0216