New York City Police Museum in New York City

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The New York City Police Museum (NYCPM) celebrates the history and contributions of the New York City Police Department since its establishment in 1845. The museum is located in Lower Manhattan in New York City, near Wall Street and the South Street Seaport. While one of the museum's primary focuses is a memorial to September 11th, the museum contains a wide range of information on the history of the NYPD. The museum, which grew from a gallery housed at the police academy, opened at 26 Broadway at Bowling Green in January 2000 and re-opened in a new location at 100 Old Slip, former home of the First Precinct, in January 2002.

It also allows visitors to simulate a police firefight, and judges whether or not the shooting was correct, allowing civilians to have some understanding of situations that police face and provide them with a better understanding of the work of police officers than that provided by the media. Its exhibits are not without controversy, and city historians have accused the museum of omitting coverage of more controversial aspects of NYPD history.


On February 16, 1998, plans for a police museum were unveiled when then-Police Commissioner Howard Safir and the Alliance for Downtown New York (the local Business improvement district) made $5 million available for the museum in return for a new police substation in Lower Manhattan. Funding for the museum was criticized and classified by some as the buying of police protection for a given area at the expense of another that could not afford to broker a similar deal. As a result, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani cancelled the funding for the museum two days later. Private donors provided more than $2 million for the construction of the museum, while the City contributed $1 million.

The new museum replaced a small gallery that had been housed in the Police Academy on East 20th Street. Among the exhibits brought to the new museum are: a display of the evolution of police uniforms since their inception in 1853, a gun used by Al Capone's gang in the 1928 murder of Frankie Yale, the first machine gun used in a gangland killing in New York,

Old Slip location

In January 2002, the museum re-opened in a new location on Old Slip, closer to South Street Seaport. The new premises, appropriately, were the landmarked First Precinct Building, designed by the partnership of Richard Howland Hunt and Joseph Howland Hunt and built in 1909-11. The landmarked building was a model precinct house in its time. From 1884 to 1973 this Florentine Renaissance palazzo with its bold rusticated facades was the home of the First Precinct, which one historian called "the most important police precinct in the world." That precinct closed due to a corruption scandal in 1977, and museum officials saw a move to this location as an opportunity to connect with the Department's history. Construction and renovation of the new space cost more than $4 million and exhibition space grew by nearly 45%

Its new exhibits included a 1972 Plymouth Fury, a model of a jail cell, a timeline of transportation, lock-picking tools belonging to Willie Sutton, an extensive exhibit on September 11 that occupies the museum's third floor, and a Hall of Heroes that includes the name and badge of every NYPD officer killed in the line of duty, starting with David Martin on August 6, 1861.

See also

  • List of museums and cultural institutions in New York City
  • New York City Police Department

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