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“Very Interesting!”

National Museum of Crime & Punishment
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Reviewed November 5, 2012

We rather enjoyed our visit to the National Museum of Crime & Punishment. We do recommend getting the additional Top Detective Challenge to help guide you through the museum. There is a LOT to read if you want to know the whole history, so if your really into that, go in the off times so you don't feel pushed through by other visitors. Overall, we had a great time, learned a lot, and got some neat pictures!

Thank JandN93
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 November 16, 2012

Dear JandN93 – Thank you so much for taking the time to write this fabulous review on our behalf. We are completely partial to the top detective challenge, but we do get great feedback from our guests, so your comment on this fun activity helps us out so much. A lot of people read these reviews and we are trying our best to be the best that DC has to offer. If you find yourself back in DC please stop in and say hello. Thank you again. – Susan

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Reviews (924)
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583 - 587 of 925 reviews

Reviewed November 4, 2012

I was leery of paying for a museum when there were so many free ones we had yet to see. My parents love CSI and Criminal Minds and so I thought it would be a fun deviation from the other musuems we had already visited. Yes it is pricey. $20/person and I also suggest calling them directly to check on their hours. I planned for us to arrive at 2 and upon arrival I see a sign posted that they are closing at 4:30(regualry 7pm). I was so happy we were on schedule that day. It took us about 2 hours and 15 minutes to see everything. It is 3 floors. There is a lot of reading, but they also have a lot of interactive things. I enjoyed it, but both of my parents loved it. If you have a Investigation Discovery, CSI, or Criminal MInds fan, this musuem is worth every penny. If not I would either look for discount tickets or check out the many other musuems in town.

Thank Chelsie E
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 November 16, 2012

Dear Chelsie E – Your review was great. Thank you so much for coming to the Museum. It is a tough decision for some to pay for a Museum in DC, so we try our best to be that deviation from the other Museums with our interaction, CSI Workshops and subject matter that is different, but nonetheless important in our history. Crimes of today shape our future tomorrow. I am so glad your parents had a great time. Typically we are open from 10am to 7pm, and we also advise checking on the hours just in case. Hopefully this coming year we will have some better discounts to make the decision to buy a ticket that much easier. We hope to see you again soon. – Susan

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Reviewed October 27, 2012

The museum advertises three floors of exhibits and over 100 interactive features. My wife and I are both avid readers of mysteries, and I have worked with a number of law enforcement agencies as a consultant. We found the museum somewhat overpriced and disappointing. The day we were there, a number of the interactive exhibits were not working. One of the most attractive, the driving simulator was not manned. You begin your tour on the top floor which presents an historical picture in timeline form. It begins with instrument of medieval torture and short discussions of crimes that might require their use. From there is concentrates on the US with an interesting presentation of the types of crimes (not attending church, having sex on Sunday, etc.) that might have resulted in being placed in stocks or other punishments. Other exhibits include famous pirates, famous outlaws and sheriffs of the "old west," and gangsters of the 20's, 3o's (including the car in which Bonnie & Clyde were killed). What is absent is any coherent discussion of the development of the FBI and other Federal Law Enforcement agencies, even though some attention is paid to the evolution of modern techniques of detection.
The second floor is devoted to detection and the use of forensic science. This included an autopsy table with a plastic corpse that has a few wounds, etc. You can buy an extra cost ticket to attend an "autopsy" at certain designated times.
The bottom floor is the story of the evolution of, and the site of the broadcast studio for America's Most Wanted.
As one reviewer notes, much of the material requires reading small print. Even though one cute and educational feature was the inclusion of McGriff the Crime Dog questions for children in the form of "What should you do IF" Still, I would not recommend the museum for children under 16. I was bored; I am sure they would be. On last note --there are very few places to sit.

Thank redneckersson5
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 November 16, 2012

Dear Redneckersson5 – This was long review! Thank you for taking the time out to write it. We appreciate all reviews. I did want to clarify a couple of things, and I hope you don't take offense. I want to make sure the next guest can navigate their way through without having to go through the same experience you went through. We do have a firearms and driving simulator. We are so slow in the winter months that we offer them every hour on the hour. I promise we will make sure to let our guests know about this, and I am very sorry you did not get to do them as they are a highlight of the Museum. For that, if you are ever in town again please come straight in, VIP STYLE, as our guest. We also offer CSI workshops on the weekends, not just in Pathology, but in so many other Forensic Science applications to include Blood Spatter, Firearms & Ballistics, Arson, Etc. Kids of all ages love the Museum. Not everything is for everyone and we certainly will get reviews where we weren't a guest’s “cup of tea”, but in terms of our effort to provide content and an experience worth the money, we try our best. I really do appreciate your feedback, and I will make a change today to inform our guests about the simulators. – Susan

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Reviewed October 25, 2012

Value:3
Entertainment: 3
Child Friendly: 2
Location:5
Ease of getting there: 5

As a long time resident of the Washington DC metropolitan area, I have visited D.C. and the many museums and monuments the area has to offer many times. Until recently, one of the museums on the top of my list to see was the National Crime and Punishment Museum, so of course when I finally got the opportunity to go I had high hopes. While I can't say I was completely disappointed, I will say it didn't quite live up to my expectations. With this said, if you are only in the Washington D.C. area for a short visit, I would have to suggest seeing the Smithsonians and monuments before taking time out to see this museum.
The museum is broken up into several sections, which wind throughout the three floors. Some of the sections include medevil forms of punishment and torture, the 1930's (including infamous gangsters), the Death Penalty etc.
I must confess that the field of crime, punishment, law enforcement and society interests me, hence my high hopes for the museum, yet even I found myself skipping large portions of the museum. Much of the museum includes reading off of small plaques, which are usually placed under replacas of the actual items they are showing. Since this is the National Museum of Crime and Punishment, I expected more original pieces. As previously mentioned, there is a lot of reading involved, hence my 2 on whether the museum is child friendly. I would most likely suggest that if you do wish to bring your family, that your children be in their late teens.
The museum takes at least 1-2 hours to go through, and there are not many places to sit down.
One portion of the museum which I highly suggest is the scenario training and the driving simulator. The attendant was very helpful, and will put you through several scenarios in which they have partial control over what happens based on your actions. This part is both interactive, and entertaining.
Overall I would give this museum at 3 out of 5. The cost of the musuem, about $20 a person, is expensive considering many of the museums and attractions in the city are free or much less expensive.
On a side note, the museum is in the China Town area of Washigton D.C., and very easy to get to. I highly suggest riding the metro as drivin in Washingington D.C., especially in the mornings and evenings can be difficult. The area is surrounded with other attractions such as the Verizon Center (where the Capitals and Wizards play), the International Spy Museum (sorry I haven't been there yet, so no opinion on that one yet), and great restaurants. Additionally, if staying in the area, check out my review on the Kimpton Hotel Monaco, which is very close, and which I suggest.

Thank AreWeThereYet2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CrimeMuseumStaff, Manager at National Museum of Crime & Punishment, responded to this reviewResponded September 13, 2013

Thank you for your review and for your feedback; we truly appreciate it! We understand that there are so many museums in DC, most of which are free, so we do thank you for visiting us! There is a lot to read - the audio tour is a great option to lighten the reading. While we are sad to hear that we did not live up to your expectations, we are glad that you did enjoy the driving and shooting simulators! :-/

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Reviewed October 22, 2012

Besides being expensive for what the provide, the museum is poorly organized. In order to get to the "CSI" portion which they advertise, you have to go through way too much other stuff. By the time you get to the "meat" your brain is already overloaded. It could be vastly improved by a better introduction to the museum layout or rearranging it to have the various sections organized in discreet areas. That way you could pick and choose your areas of interest and not have to slog through the whole thing.

1  Thank Rob S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CrimeMuseumStaff, Manager at National Museum of Crime & Punishment, responded to this reviewResponded September 13, 2013

Thank you for taking time to visit us and for your review! We appreciate your feedback addressing the organization of the museum and will definitely keep it in mind as something to improve upon. :-/

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