Want to experience the thrill of a real-life crime scene investigation?

The nation’s first museum exclusively dedicated to crime and punishment will open its doors on May 23 in downtown Washington, D.C.

The museum will feature a look at the justice system since the colonial period, with specific exhibits centered on significant historical periods, along with features on the Depression, the Mafia and present-day crime.

The museum will provide an opportunity for “everyone to learn our nation’s history of crime and punishment, while experiencing what it takes to become a crime fighter and solve cases,” said Janice Vaccarello, chief operating officer of the museum.

According to the museum Web site, the museum’s five galleries will burrow deep into the studies of criminal intent, criminal profiles, serial killers, the prison system, victims and crime prevention.

The Web site also boasts that the museum will serve as the new set for the popular crime-fighting series, “America’s Most Wanted.” Museum guests will be invited to “witness” the show during its live taping.

“With historical artifacts typically found in a traditional museum, combined with dynamic interaction, the National Museum of Crime and Punishment presents the history of crime and punishment in America, encompassing everything from pirates, Wild West outlaws, serial killers and gangsters to white collar criminals hiding behind computer technology,” a March 13 press release said.

The release added that guests will have “opportunities to interact with a realistic forensics lab, a simulated FBI shooting range, high-speed police chase training equipment, an electric chair and a lie detector test.”

Visitors can also stop by an interactive local crime-fighting exhibit, where they can enter their zip code to learn about crime prevention programs in their areas.

any local college students have already sent applications to the museum for internships in the fall.

“We will always accept applications and have postings for all campuses,” Vaccarello said.

Professor Alison Hilton, director of graduate museum studies at Georgetown, said that while this museum does not directly correlate with the curriculum of her program, she would still encourage her students to intern.

The museum, which is located at 575 7th St. NW between E and F Streets near the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro station, will charge $17.95 for adult admission.

Concludes the Web site: “It’s so much fun, it’s a crime.”

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