An Educator’s First Visit to the NLEM’s Collections Facility

By Dean MacLeod, Community Education Specialist

Have you ever been invited into the inner sanctum of a special place where you once might have suspected you’d have no business going? In early June, I made my first visit to the NLEM collections facility, just 30 minutes from our offices in downtown DC. There, I saw numerous artifacts that made me proud to be helping to build the NLEM: all manner of handcuffs, prisoner-made shivs and shanks (weapons) once seized as contraband, decades-old mug shots, Al Capone’s bullet-proof vest, and the box that holds Peter Weller’s Robocop 2 suit!

Okay, okay, I know you’re thinking, “It was just the box!”—but as an educator who doesn’t often see this side of museum practice, it was still pretty neat. It’s great to know that the Museum will be a place where we can tell the stories behind the material culture of our law enforcement officers, and in turn, demonstrate the important role they play to uphold the Constitution and shape our society.