The National Museum of Crime and Punishment has nothing to do with the novel by the same name written by Fyodor Dostoevsky, but about one of the U.S.’s favorite past times, fighting criminals. In this museum that has just opened in Washington, D.C., according to this L.A. Times article by Sara Wire, it’s not the criminals that get the glory–Al Capone, move over, but the people who fight crime. No, no, no, not Batman or Superman or even Indiana Jones, but law enforcement officers and detectives–the good guys, the people who are sleuthing experts who save the day.
John Walsh, the man who hosts “America’s Most Wanted,” will broadcast the show from here once a month. Visitors to the museum will get a history lesson of crime and punishment in the United States from colonial times to present day. There are interactive features where folks get a true picture of what fighting crime is actually like–not the CSI version, but what really happens.
One of the messages throughout is that crime doesn’t pay. This is a museum to show off the good guys and down play the bad guys.
One of the exhibits that caught my attention is the car used for the movie Bonnie and Clyde. Even though Al Capone is not glorified here, a replica of his cell at Eastern State Penitentiary is. Both show the end of the life of crime, not the “fun” stuff of getting by with bank robberies that tend to get a movie audience to root for the get-a-way, at least for awhile.