Scotland Yard’s Black Museum


This goes over familiar ground, but it’s a pretty decent TV programme about the Black Museum, offering some case histories and an overview of the place where over 400 items instrumental to the capture of murderers are on display. It was opened in 1874 to be used for police training purposes, and is now called the Crime Museum, but surely it’s about time they finally opened it to the public?

3 comments on “Scotland Yard’s Black Museum”

  1. Helen Martin says:

    Is it not even accessible to people with legitimate reasons – historians, psychologists, writers of mystery stories? I assume it is not just a collection of objects, but rather case studies with illustrative objects. People with professional reasons (perhaps excepting mystery writers, who are a dangerous lot) should be able to study there but the general public? Why would anyone want to see the knife which …, the rubber apron which…? There is a police museum in Vancouver, B.C. which is open to the public and people take their children there during the holidays. My understanding is that the police provide a simple program on forensics, which is intended to show children how foolish it is to try anything of a criminal nature. They do see a few objects connected with cases, including things belonging to unsolved cases, in the hope that someone might suddenly make connections to something they’ve seen. I still don’t particularly want to go. Why should Scotland Yard’s museum be opened and how much of it do you think should be open?

  2. I.A.M. says:

    And, for those wishing to know more about the Vancouver Police Museum (such as ‘what sorts of things do they think are alright to show the public) head here

  3. Thanks for the mention! As it happens, we’re not run by the Vancouver Police; we’re a little independent non-profit organization. Our forensics programs aren’t to teach kids about the folly of committing crimes (although that’s an admirable goal!), instead they’re to teach kids about the practical applications of science.

    As for “why” people want to see these things, it’s complicated, but a part of it is that we have a deep curiosity about the “forbidden”. Also, police officers have to deal with that side of things on a daily basis, and I believe it helps the public understand how difficult policing is if they can see just a hint of what an officer has to deal with.

    I’d be happy to chat more about this with you, anytime.

    Chris Mathieson, Executive Director
    Vancouver Police Museum

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