(Courtesy National Museum of Crime and Punishment) – An exhibit board explains the history of the Unabomber.By Jessica Goldstein
The newest exhibit at the National Museum of Crime and Punishment focuses on the Unabomber, whose explosives kept the United States on edge for almost two decades. It’s no surprise that the gallery is captivating; we’re a nation fascinated by, well, crime and punishment. Kids play cops and robbers in the back yard while teenagers quote “The Godfather” and their parents turn to HBO, enthralled by “The Sopranos.” “Law and Order”is on TV so often it’s a surprise there’s ever any other show on the air. Violence terrifies and murder repulses, yet those are the stories we watch, rapt, as they unfold on the news one gruesome detail at a time. The NMCP provides an array of artifacts, information and interactive exhibits to satisfy an insatiable desire to know more about crimes, those who commit them and those who work to solve them. Allow two to three hours to explore the five galleries: “A Notorious History of American Crime,” “Punishment: The Consequence of Crime,” “Crime Fighting,” “Crime Scene Investigation” and “ ‘America’s Most Wanted’ Studio.”Required reading: Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, was responsible for 16 attacks, three deaths and 23 injuries in 17 years. In early 1995, The Washington Post and the New York Times received a 67-page manifesto from the Unabomber promising to stop the bombings if the essay was published. After consulting with the FBI, the papers split the cost of publication, and the manifesto ran in The Post on Sept. 19, 1995. In February of the next year, the FBI got a tip from David Kaczynski, who recognized his brother’s voice and philosophy in the writing.
CSI: Washington: The museum knows what you’re thinking about fighting crime: “Yeah, but is it like ‘CSI’?” In an effort to address the common inquiry head-on, the museum offers its most popular exhibit, “The CSI Experience.” You begin as the unsuspecting witness to suspicious behavior, then travel to the crime scene, collect evidence and head to the crime lab. On weekends, the museum runs CSI-themed workshops. Led by forensic scientists, the hands-on activities cover evidence collection, DNA, body decomposition and basic forensics.
Removing the evidence: Visit the Cop Shop to pick up a body-outline towel, a crime scene “do not cross” scarf that resembles yellow tape, and plenty of other crime-fighting and CSI-themed wares.
National Museum of Crime and Punishment
575 Seventh St. NW. 202-393-1099. www.crimemuseum.org . Hours: Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.- 7 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate. Adults online $18.95, gate $21.95; seniors, U.S. military and U.S. law enforcement online $15.95, gate $16.95; children ages 5-11 $14.95; children younger than 5, free.
I would actually like to go. I think it could be interesting. A little morbid but interesting.
It would not just be for the serial killers, but to get a peek into not only criminal minds but into the investigative minds.
I’d love to go on the weekend, to take the C.S.I. workshop, though I am sure it is more ‘fun’ than true investigation. Maybe not though, maybe they are reacting to the whole “True Crime TV” issue (the general public / juries wanting & expecting the Smoking Gun moment that is so common on TV) and showing the public the truth. I hope so.