Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum – Seattle, Washington - Atlas Obscura
Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum is permanently closed.

Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum

The largest police museum in the western United States displays the evolution of crime-fighting Seattle. 


Located in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square district, the Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum houses crime-fighting artifacts dating back to the 1860s—historic weaponry, uniforms, and a fleet of vintage cruisers tell the story of the evolution of the Seattle Police, from the olden days up until the 21st century.

Seattle was once a city filled with vice. Gambling, prostitution, drinking, and violence ran amok in the streets. Sometimes the police responded, sometimes they turned a blind eye.

As the Seattle police force modernized, the artifacts from this crime-ridden era—photographs, documents, and other memorabilia—no longer could be put to any use. So, in 1997, Officer Jim Ritter compiled these relics in an abandoned building, a site which has since grown to become the largest police museum in the western United States.

Inside the Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum, you can find antique badges, batons, shackles, investigative devices, and riot control equipment dating back to the late 19th century. Special exhibits include a historic police communications center and an old jail cell preserved from the early days of Seattle. In the children’s area, kids can listen to dispatched police calls and try on helmets, gun belts, and bulletproof vests. Also found on the museum’s property are 15 vintage police cars dating back to 1949.

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