The National Museum of Crime & Punishment in Chinatown has announced its property manager is forcing the three-story museum out of its building on 7th Street NW and will be shuttering at the end of September.
The museum, which opened in 2008 and charges $21.95 for an adult ticket, faces tough competition from the free Smithsonian museums throughout D.C.
Janine Vaccarello, the chief operating officer of the museum, said that as part of its lease, the building owners have had the right since 2013 to ask the museum to vacate the property if it does not meet certain sales thresholds. Vaccarello would not disclose details of the museum’s finances, but said, “we had our challenges, but we were making it.”
“We would have liked to do better, but D.C. is a tough market,” Vaccarello said. “We weren’t planning on going anywhere. We always tried to do a lot within the community. It is sad, we are really sad.”
The future of the crime museum is uncertain. Vaccarello said the museum would search for other spaces in the area, or would look to partner with another organization and a place to sell its paraphernalia.
The property manager, DTZ, declined to comment.
Orlando lawyer John Morgan opened the museum in partnership with the Fox TV show “America’s Most Wanted” and the D.C. attraction was described by the Washington Post in 2008 as “one of Washington’s growing supply of museums that aspire to be a blend of theme park and TV show.”
The museum features attractions that include a police driving simulator and an interactive police line-up. It has also displayed a number of real and Hollywood crime artifacts, such as the actual John Dillinger car and the Bonnie-and-Clyde car that was used in the movie about the bank robbers.
Recently, the museum installed a permanent exhibit on convicted swindler Bernie Madoff.
“We would like to thank you for the support over the years,” the crime museum’s Web site now reads.