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LE Museum Design Approved by Arts Commission

May 28, 2008  | 

The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) has given its final stamp of approval to the first-ever, Congressionally authorized national museum dedicated to American law enforcement, which is scheduled to open in the nation's capital in 2011.

At its May 15 meeting, the Commission voted unanimously to give final design approval for the National Law Enforcement Museum, which will be located adjacent to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.'s historic Judiciary Square. Last June, the CFA gave preliminary design approval for the Museum.

"The Commission of Fine Arts has thoroughly reviewed every aspect of our Museum design, and we are very pleased that the Commissioners have consistently recognized both the cultural and architectural merits of this project," said Craig W. Floyd, chairman and CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which is leading the effort to build the Museum. "This decision moves us one important step closer to creating a world-class museum dedicated to law enforcement right here in our nation's capital," he added.

The CFA was established in 1910 to meet the growing need for a permanent body to advise the federal government on matters pertaining to the arts and, in particular, to guide the architectural development of Washington, DC. The seven-member Commission is chaired by Earl A. Powell III, director of the National Gallery of Art since 1992.

In addition, the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) approved the Museum's concept design in April 2007; final approval of the project by the NCPC is expected this summer.

Authorized by Congress in the year 2000, the National Law Enforcement Museum will be a 95,000 square foot, mostly underground museum located in the 400 block of E Street, NW. When it opens in 2011, the Museum will provide an estimated 600,000 visitors a year with a comprehensive and compelling look at law enforcement in the United States. The Museum will feature high-tech, interactive exhibitions, interesting historical and contemporary artifacts, a research center and extensive educational programming.

The Museum is designed by Davis Buckley Architects and Planners of Washington, DC, the firm that also designed the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. Dedicated in 1991, the Memorial now contains the names of 18,274 law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty throughout U.S. history. The Museum's exhibitions, which include four permanent galleries and one changing exhibitions gallery, are being designed by Christopher Chadbourne & Associates of Boston, whose work includes the Mount Vernon Museum and Education Center and the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

The privately funded National Law Enforcement Museum has launched an $80 million capital campaign, with more than $35 million raised to date. For more information about the Museum, including a virtual tour, visit

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