PRECINCT 444 Podcast

A Podcast of The National Law Enforcement Museum

Law and Disorder | The History of Fingerprints


For the last century, fingerprints have been a cornerstone of identification in our criminal justice system and other criminal justice systems around the globe. But did you ever wonder how that came to be? On today’s episode of Law and Disorder, we are going to explore the history of fingerprint identification and identify its merits within forensic science.

The National Law Enforcement Museum has a number of in-person forensics workshops for ages K-12. Learn more about them here.

Below are a few items from the Museum’s collection related to fingerprinting.


Wanted poster of John Dillinger and his set of fingerprints.


This circa 1930s fingerprinting kit includes chemicals and tools for extracting fingerprints from a variety of surfaces.


Fingerprint card, c. 1920s.