During its first century, the FBI has played a significant role in the nation’s history—and its culture. To see just how significant a role we have played, look no further than the new exhibit “G-Men and Journalists: Top News Stories of the FBI’s First Century.”
A collaboration between the FBI and the Newseum, a museum in the nation’s capital devoted to the news, the display is filled with stories and artifacts from some of our most celebrated cases—everything from John Dillinger’s death mask to the electric chair used to execute Bruno Hauptmann after his conviction in the Lindbergh baby kidnapping case. The exhibit not only showcases our biggest investigations and the historical eras in which they took place, but the multifaceted relationship between the Bureau and the media during the past century.
“G-Men and Journalists” has been so popular—nearly 400,000 visitors have seen it since it opened this past June—that Newseum officials recently extended its run for another year, through the end of 2009.
The exhibit is “awesome,” said Cathy Trost, the Newseum’s Director of Exhibit Development. “It’s been an incredibly popular attraction since the day it opened.”
Trost, who helped create “G-Men and Journalists,” explained that the FBI initially approached the Newseum with the idea, and Bureau employees around the country “opened their desk drawers, their storage closets, and their file cabinets and found some amazing things” to help bring the exhibit to life.
On display are more than 200 items representing remarkable pieces of history. Museum visitors can see:
* Recovered pieces of the Ryder rental truck used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building;
* A full-size replica of the trunk section of the Chevrolet Caprice used by the D.C. snipers in 2002 to show how the John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo shot and killed 10 people without being detected;
* The 10-by-12-foot cabin that was the home of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, on display for the first time;
* A copy of the 1950 Washington Daily News, which helped launch the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list; and
* The desk, chair, and office accessories used by Director J. Edgar Hoover.
Other displays focus on famous investigations involving spies, mobsters, and the KKK and include video documentaries featuring FBI agents and the reporters who covered their cases.
"We looked at the complicated relationship between the FBI and the media and didn’t sugarcoat it,” Trost explained. “The best testimony about the exhibit is that it’s received very positive reviews from both sides.”
The FBI continues to support the exhibit by participating in public programs at the Newseum that feature current and former agents alongside journalists, authors, and historians.
The popularity of the exhibit “is further proof that the public continues to be interested in the FBI and supportive of our mission,” said Mike Kortan, our Deputy Assistant Director of Public Affairs. Kortan added that we are also featured at the National Museum of Crime & Punishment and the International Spy Museum and will be represented at the upcoming National Law Enforcement Museum—all located near FBI Headquarters in Washington.
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