National Museum of Crime & Punishment
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2008)|
|Established||May 23, 2008|
575 7th Street NWWashington, DC
|Public transit access||Gallery Place-Chinatown|
The Crime Museum is a privately owned museum dedicated to the history of criminology and penology in the United States. 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. Unlike most museums in Washington, DC, the Crime Museum is a for-profit enterprise.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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
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. 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.
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
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.
John Walsh filming a segment for America's Most Wanted
- Wire, Sarah D. (May 16, 2008). LA Times Review "Crime Museum opening in D.C.: TV's 'America's Most Wanted' to shoot from the new facility, which focuses on detective work.". Los Angeles Times.
- Cooper, Rachel. "Crime Museum in Washington, DC". about.com. Retrieved 2008-06-25.
- Arroyo, Leah. "Sex, Drugs and Pirates: The rise of the for-profit museum". American Association of Museums. Retrieved 2010-02-23.
- Trescott, Jacqueline (May 23, 2008). "Some People Would Die To Wind Up at This Museum". Washington Post.
- Hemmerdinger, Jonathan (June 5, 2008). "Where crime is considered history". The National.
- Wire, Sarah D. (July 13, 2008). "Law enforcement takes spotlight at D.C. museum". Los Angeles Times.
- McKay, Gretchen (July 6, 2008). "Crime, punishment court travelers to D.C. museum". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Dietsch, Deborah K. (May 23, 2008). "Crime pays at new museum". Washington Post.
- Keveney, Bill (May 19, 2008). "'America's Most Wanted' hits a milestone". USA Today.
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