The Detective Museum

Posted by Matt Kuhns on Jan 10, 2013

There is a P.I. Museum in San Diego, and a Spy and Private Eye Museum in Austin, Texas. I’ve never been to either, though both have interesting online collections.

But, I’ve started to wonder what a museum or museum exhibit about the great detectives profiled in Brilliant Deduction might include. It’s basically just a play-pretend exercise, but it’s interesting enough; what one or two items might I want to display for each of the investigators I’ve described?

Vidocq made more use of disguise than any of his notable peers, and perhaps more than any detective real or imagined other than Sherlock Holmes. If some of his costumes or other paraphernalia had been preserved, it would be a must-see display. I might also want to include examples of his file-card record system, which represented a major advance in durable, systematized approaches to criminal investigation.

For Jonathan Whicher, I can’t help thinking of the “relics” from the Road child murder investigation that he apparently held on to after the case and his entire career imploded, only for them (and Whicher) to get a second hearing of sorts, years later.

Allan Pinkerton’s detective career began with counterfeiting investigations, and that crime played an important role throughout detective history, so a few samples would make ideal displays. Perhaps even one of the counterfeit dimes from his very first foray into detective work. Any kind of records would also be appropriate, as Pinkerton was ultimately as or more important as an administrator and entrepreneur than as a field man.

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