About the Museum
The interactive museum illustrates the life and times of John Dillinger and other gangsters during the 1930’s depression era and shows advancements made in crime fighting technology during the first 30 years of the 20th century.
The museum was renovated and developed into an educational and historic experience and uses John Dillinger and other era criminals as examples of what happens to people who engage in criminal activity.
Guests are invited to learn about the birth of the FBI as they chase John Dillinger and his gang through the Midwest. The museum includes interactive displays, life-size wax figures and educational and historical displays.
Included are the notable “death trousers” (the pants Dillinger was wearing when he was shot outside of the Biograph
Theater in Chicago), the infamous wooden gun, Dillinger’s lucky rabbit's foot and more.
When the museum opened in 1999, the Lake County Convention and Visitors Bureau who owns the museum was sensitive to community members and law enforcement officials who were concerned that such an attraction would glorify crime.
The Lake County CVB responded to concerns and involved local law enforcement officials that included the Lake County’s Sheriff, local police chiefs, representatives from the Indiana State Police and the president of Indiana’s Fraternal Order of Police.
The museum artifacts were purchased from the Joe Pinkston’s estate in 1997. Joe Pinkston, a nationally recognized Dillinger Historian, owned and operated "The John Dillinger Museum" in Nashville, Indiana for nearly 20 years.
After purchase, the Lake County CVB hired Icon Exhibits of Fort Wayne, Indiana to renovate and restore the artifacts and develop the museum into an interactive learning experience. It is now open in the award-winning Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond, Indiana.