Saturday, August 16, 2014

Day at the Museum: National Museum of Crime & Punishment

It doesn't take long to realize you're in the National Museum of Crime & Punishment: Take one step past the entrance turnstile, look up and there they are... Serial killer Ted Bundy's haunting eyes, staring right back atcha. Creepy, but par for the course at one of DC's most unique and popular tourist attractions. You won't find the Hope Diamond here, yet alone the Spirit of St. Louis; but you will find some of the coolest memorabilia you never thought existed in the nation's capital (yet alone anywhere else.)

The fun (and mayhem) starts before you even purchase your ticket ($21.95, $14.95 for kids.) Walk inside, and you'll see the aforementioned Bundy's 1968 Volkswagen Beetle parked in the lobby. Make sure you have a chat with your kids before visiting (It's the actual car used in some of Bundy's kidnappings/murders... Yikes.)

Fear not, the rest of the trip isn't nearly as scary; although you get to sit inside prison cells, observe crime scenes, electric chairs, guillotines and even an autopsy table (complete with cadaver, thankfully not real.) Like I said, no need to keep an eye out for the Hope Diamond: The Crime Museum has its own brand of rare gems.

Ted Bundy's 1968 Volkswagen Beetle

For example, you'll uncover death masks of John Dillinger and Martin Luther King, Jr.; and weapons galore, including a replica of a "fake" gun Dillinger carved out of a piece of washboardAl Capone? How about a peak inside his luxurious cell at the old Eastern State Penitentiary? Even the original 1934 Ford V8 featured in the 1967 Warner Bros. classic "Bonnie and Clyde," is on display. There's so much to see and do (28,000 square feet, across three levels) you'd be wise to set aside at least an hour or two, to soak it all in.

Bonnie and Clyde Death Car (courtesy of the Crime Museum)

Children under 5 get in for free; and discounts are available for seniors (60+) as well as active and retired US Law Enforcement & Military personnel (with valid ID.) Purchase tickets online, ahead of time and save even more. The Crime Museum (which opened back on May 23, 2008) is open every day except for Thanksgiving and Christmas Days. Click here for a full breakdown of museum hours (they vary.) Need further information? Visit the Crime Museum online, or call (202) 393-1099.

1963 Harley Davidson Police (Pan-Head Engine) Motorcycle

Did you know? Every 22.2 seconds, there is one violent crime committed in the United States (according to the U.S. Dept. of Justice, 2006.) This includes...
• One aggravated assault, every 36.6 seconds
• One forcible rape, every 5.7 minutes
• One murder, every 30.9 minutes
• One robbery, every 1.2 minutes
Can you say "Too much information?"

Jailhouse Rock

Bunk Beds!

Dental Identification

Exit wound? Check.

Lie Detector Test

John Dillinger Death Mask

The Eyes Have It... Ted Bundy (creepy)

Off with Their Heads!

Lineup in Progress

Catch Me If You Can... Frank Abagnale Jr.

The Cop Shop

Coolest souvenir ever!