For the first time ever, never-before-seen-objects from the Metropolitan Police’s Crime Museum will go on public display at the Museum of London in the major exhibition, The Crime Museum Uncovered, opening this October.
Previously only accessible to police professionals and invited guests, the exhibition will reveal the secrets of the Crime Museum, created by serving police officers since its establishment in 1875.
The exhibition, which is being created with the support of the Metropolitan Police Service and the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC), will take visitors on a journey through real cases and how they were investigated. It will bring them close to the objects and evidence from some of the UK’s most notorious crimes, including the Acid Bath Murderer of 1949, the Great Train Robbery of 1963 and the Millennium Dome Diamond Heist of 2000. It will also examine some of the challenges faced in policing the capital, tackling themes from terrorism and espionage to counterfeiting and narcotics.
Sharon Ament, Director of the Museum of London, said: “Crime is an unfortunate by-product of big-city life, and a reality that Londoners are all too familiar with. Challenging and disturbing; familiar and unsettling, The Crime Museum Uncovered will use select objects from this extraordinary, hidden collection to consider the changing nature of crime and advances in detection over the last 140 years. Through focusing on people – victims, perpetrators and police officers – we’ll use real objects to explore the human stories behind some of the UK’s most well-known crimes, personalising what is so often de-personalised. And in doing so, we’ll confront how, as a society, we respond when normality is shattered, lives are torn apart and we need to rebuild.”
MPS Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, said: "The artefacts held in the museum will provide visitors with an insight into the evolution of crime investigation and criminal justice. The public will view exhibits from some of the most complex and indeed notorious criminal investigations carried out by the Met, and discover how such crimes were solved. I hope people enjoy visiting this exhibition.”
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “The evolution of London’s police force plays a fascinating part in the history of our city. Many of the policing methods now used by forces all over the world were developed here in the capital by our pioneering policing techniques. This exhibition will bring this story alive, in some instances out from behind closed doors for the first time, allowing us to reflect on the victims at the centre of each of these cases and learn more about how the creativity of the past has shaped the way the police work today.”
The Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Stephen Greenhalgh, said: “I am very pleased that the stories being told show how London’s police force have dealt with the changing nature of policing an expanding and evolving city like London to fight crime and keep the public safe. This exhibition proves that good police work, more often than not, requires painstaking and time consuming work where the smallest details are so critical to a detective in solving a crime. This provides a fascinating opportunity to learn about this work.”
Aside from police professionals, the Crime Museum’s Visitors’ Book reveals an eclectic list of high-profile guests over the years. King George V (1865-1936), Sherlock Holmes author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), illusionist, Harry Houdini (1874-1926) and comedy double act, Stan Laurel (1890- 1965) and Oliver Hardy (1892- 1957) have all stepped inside the infamous museum, currently housed within the Metropolitan Police’s HQ, New Scotland Yard.
For six months only, visitors to the Museum of London can gain unprecedented access to highlights from the collection, established in the mid-1870s as a teaching tool to educate officers. The Museum of London has been working closely with the independent London Policing Ethics Panel in the planning of this exhibition and has discussed how to ensure the interests of victims are protected with Baroness Newlove, the Victims' Commissioner.
The Crime Museum Uncovered is curated at the Museum of London by curators, Julia Hoffbrand and Jackie Keily. It builds upon the museum’s expertise and follows exhibitions, Jack the Ripper (2008), Dickens and London (2011) and Sherlock Holmes (2014), in exploring the darker side of London.
The Crime Museum Uncovered runs from 9 October 2015 - 10 April 2016 and will be accompanied by a programme of talks and events. Tickets available from £12.50 online; £15 on the door. Wednesdays only; tickets from £10.