From Jack the Ripper to al-Qaida, this London museum showcases a century of crime

October 8, 2015
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People are horrible. It’s hard to escape the thought amid the guns, knives, bombs, knuckledusters and vials of poison in the Museum of London’s new exhibition, The Crime Museum Uncovered.

Drawn from Scotland Yard’s private collection, the show charts more than a century of violence and suffering, from the murders of Jack the Ripper to IRA and al-Qaida bombings. But it also celebrates the brains, bravery and scientific advances that helped catch perpetrators and solve crimes.

Co-curator Jackie Keily said some people will find the displays “deeply upsetting or unsettling.”

“However, for all the bad we see in crime, there’s also the good,” she said. “There are people who go out there and investigate, who doggedly follow down the leads.”

The exhibition, which opens Friday, is the first public outing for the contents of the private Metropolitan Police crime museum, founded in 1875 as an educational tool for officers.

“It’s a nice controlled environment where they can look at murder scenes,” said police museum curator Paul Bickley, a former Scotland Yard detective.

“They can look at investigation techniques without the rawness of suddenly being the first officer on scene … thinking “Oh my God, what should I do?” he said.