National Museum of Crime and Punishment

The National Museum of Crime & Punishment is a privately owned museum dedicated to the history of criminology and penology in America. It is located in the Penn Quarter neighborhood of Washington, D.C., half a block south of the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro station. The museum, which opened in May 2008, 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 National Museum of Crime & Punishment 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 the consequences of crime in America and in 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.

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Exhibitions and events

Crime Scene Investigation

Permanent exhibition

If you've ever pondered a day in the life of a crime scene investigator, this simulation is as close to the "real deal" as you can get. Finding yourself in the middle of a fully intact crime scene,...

Punishment: The Consequence of Crime

Permanent exhibition

Hollywood often glamorizes the criminal, portraying a world where the casino heist is easy and avoiding capture even easier. The truth of the matter is that crime doesn't pay, and the NMCP showcases...

Educational programs

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