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“GREAT, if you have plenty of time”

National Museum of Crime & Punishment
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Reviewed June 13, 2011

I thought this was a such a great place, but you have to have at least 2 hours to go through the whole thing. The first floor that you visit is not so young child friendly, but the next floor is really cool. I think the museum is probably best for kids who are at least 8, but our 3 year old enjoyed some of the activities too. The price is pretty steep, but it is definately worth it. Also-no flash photography.

1  Thank ramairliz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CrimeMuseumStaff, Director of Sales at National Museum of Crime & Punishment, responded to this reviewResponded June 15, 2011

Thanks so much for your awesome review! Yes our museum is definitely larger than it appears from the outside :). We strive to make our museum a kid friendly place. We hope you'll visit us again!

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Reviews (924)
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780 - 784 of 925 reviews

Reviewed June 9, 2011

I liked the museum, but there was a man in the building hassling older kids who were walking around without their parents. My 17-year-old was told to find her mother. Having paid an "adult" rate for anyone 12 and up, I do not think they should then hassle teenagers and older kids about needing to walk through with their parents, unless those kids are misbehaving. We would not go back, and would not recommend to anyone traveling with kids.

1  Thank momof3qts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CrimeMuseumStaff, Director of Sales at National Museum of Crime & Punishment, responded to this reviewResponded June 15, 2011

Thank you for your helpful review. We are so sorry that your grown up children were hassled. This should not have happened, as that is an age where they could certainly visit us on their own. We would like to offer your family complimentary passes to return to our museum. Again, we apologize for your experience, and hope that you'll visit us again.

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Reviewed May 31, 2011

I loved it! This was my final stop for my DC Memorial Day Weekend trip and it was an awesome way to end with a bang. Used my travelzoo discount, but it would have been worth the full price. Paid extra for the CSI experience (which is a pencil and little case booklet with clues you have to uncover throughout the museum in order to solve the case). It was amazing to see and read about the different torture devices, mobsters, killers, crimes, and unsolved mysteries. Seeing the actual car Bonnie & Clyde were killed in was unbelievable! The gun used in the final seen of Scarface is here too! Totally cool to go through the whole being arrested process (fingerprinting, participate in lineup, lie detector, jail cell and... escape from your cell through a whole in the wall). Totally interactive throughout the whole museum, especially if you do the CSI experience. Great museum!

2  Thank Ladynikki523
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CrimeMuseumStaff, Director of Sales at National Museum of Crime & Punishment, responded to this reviewResponded June 15, 2011

Thank you for your phenomenal review! Sounds like you had a blast during your visit :). We hope you'll visit us again this summer to check out our "crimes against marine life" temporary exhibit!

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Reviewed April 25, 2011

The Crime and Punishment Museum starts off feeling like a voyeuristic trip thru the dirty underside of American History, and never really gets any better. With limited artifacts, small areas and poor ventilation (at least on the day I visited) made for a fairly limited level of enjoyment. The price of admission is fairly steep, and the portable audio tour guide is an additional charge on top of that. Not sure what I missed on that, as we didn't opt for that. For the most part, if we could get close enough to an exhibit my 9 year old son and I would read and move on, but mostly things were either crowded or just not attention grabbing.

The "real crime scene" is a static display with lights shining on key locations. The information you "collected" is the referred to in later exhibits.

The "Americas Most Wanted" set is pretty much just that. A set you can look at.

All in all, I dont regret going to this Museum, but I don't think I'd recommend it. Unless like I said you've run out of other things to do.

3  Thank ThisIsMOC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CrimeMuseumStaff, Director of Sales at National Museum of Crime & Punishment, responded to this reviewResponded July 22, 2011

Thank you so much for your feedback! We are always extending our artifacts collection. You might be interested in coming back to see our new "Unabomber" exhibit. The audio tour is narrated by Bill Curtis of Coldcase, and also has information from Dr. G, medical examiner. There's a great deal of additional information on the audio tours that can't be read on our exhibits. If you are looking for a more interactive experience, perhaps you should visit us on a Saturday to take part in one of our interactive CSI workshops :).

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Reviewed April 25, 2011

We were in DC over April 22nd-24th & wanted to spend some time at a museum on April 23rd. We have been to several of the Smithsonians & war monuments & thought that something different should be in order this time. With sons aged 7 & 8 years old, read about the museum & were initially concerned that it might be too gory for anyone younger than age 12. Well, we took a chance & boy, did our sons love it! Here is my review written from the perspective of a parent.
The museum itself is divided into 3 levels. We followed the order & went level by level, but you can actually just head to any level you want. The first level is the most extensive- starts with a history of crime & punishment in the early days, proceeds to methods of torture & then continues onto modern crime like cyber crime. Absolutely fascinating. We spent almost 3 hours on this level & there are a large number of interactive displays. In the initial part, after you enter, there is a lot of written displays & for some reason (maybe to make it spooky) it is dimly lit. We did go through every part of it though, just because it was so fascinating. Think methods of torture, pictures of death chambers, an actual electric chair, a guillotine, hangman nooses & various other things. There is also a simulated shooting range that the boys loved.
The second floor contains a CSI lab set up. Please note that this is different from the paid CSI experience (a fact that we figured out only after buying our tickets). That experience is several times a day & there is a fee for that. It was sold out for both the Saturday of our visit & the day after, so we never got to experience it. The lab set up starts with a simulated murder crime scene & proceeds to a set up where there is a mannequin of the dead body & you can identify & diagnose cause of death. There were more write ups about autopsies, rigor mortis, skull reconstruction, identification from dental records & many other things related to the sciences of forensics, ballistics & CSI work.

The third floor contains the actual set of America’s Most Wanted & some more information about John Walsh & the sad story behind AMW. Again, there is a guided tour of the set that can be paid for separately. Since we were unaware of this, didn’t get to experience it. Which might be a good thing, because after 6 hours (we had stepped out to lunch & came back again), we were tired out.

Tips-1. carry some small food items for the kids like energy bars & candy. There is no food sold inside the museum other than candy at the store. 2- If crime fascinates you, prepare to spend the better part of the day there. We spent around 6 hours because we did not want to miss anything 3.Be prepared to spend some money at the gift shop. I bought handcuffs & police caps for the boys. 4. The girl at the gift counter told me that if we wanted to return the next day free of charge, she would stamp our tickets, as long as we left after 6 PM. So if you want another day of fun & gore, go for it. We felt that we had seen all that could be seen in one fun day.

Bottomline- would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys probing the human psyche. Would definitely go again if the tickets were not so expensive. But thoroughly enjoyed this trip. Just go!;-)

1  Thank manasi_kar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CrimeMuseumStaff, Director of Sales at National Museum of Crime & Punishment, responded to this reviewResponded July 21, 2011

We thank you so much for your detailed review! We are happy that your family had a great time! I hope that you are able to come and see us again, as we just unveiled our new "Unabomber" exhibit.

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