Fieldwork in Religion, Vol 8, No 2 (2013)

The Unclean Truth: Death at the London Metropolitan Police’s Crime Museum

Lucy Talbot
Issued Date: 26 Nov 2013


The Metropolitan Police’s Crime Museum, famously known as the Black Museum, exhibits evidence from some of the most appalling crimes committed within English society from the late-Victorian era into modernity. Public admittance to this museum is strictly prohibited, preventing all but police staff from viewing the macabre exhibitions held within. The physical objects on display may vary, but whether the viewer is confronted with household items, weaponry or human remains, the evidence before them is undeniably associated with the immorality surrounding the performance of a socially bad death, of murder. These items have an object biography, they are both contextualized and contextualize the environment in which they reside. But one must question the purpose of such a museum, does it merely act as a Chamber of Horrors evoking the anomie of English society in physical form, or do these exhibits have an educational intent, restricted to their liminal space inside New Scotland Yard, to be used as a pedagogical tool in the development of new methods of murder investigation.

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DOI: 10.1558/firn.v8i2.175


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