This impressive 19th-century sheriff’s shack is New York’s most valuable museum

It’s an underground lair of the Manhattan D.A. There’s a museum of the Manhattan D.A. in downtown Manhattan, and this showroom-turned-museum-turned-deli stand has visitors stopping at its window in shock, awe, bemusement, and bewilderment….

This impressive 19th-century sheriff's shack is New York's most valuable museum

It’s an underground lair of the Manhattan D.A.

There’s a museum of the Manhattan D.A. in downtown Manhattan, and this showroom-turned-museum-turned-deli stand has visitors stopping at its window in shock, awe, bemusement, and bewilderment.

The first thing that pops out when you walk in is this: the Manhattan D.A. is 1,300 years old. Who knew?

It was an English officer, a regular army buddy of Henry VIII, who deposited it there in the 15th century. He’s been there ever since, though no one knows exactly how.

An Old World Archive

Inside the airy storeroom atrium, there are the dead and dying, the stored rubble of historical criminal investigations, the buttons of your most painful memories.

But what this place has the rarest of tomes and relics from, and why visitors come here are lost at sea in the whirling debris of the name and posterity.

The Manhattan D.A. has been collecting, preserving, and showing off this meticulously documented collection for more than 200 years. Its inventory numbers thousands of artifacts. There’s a rare 18th century bronze powder keg, two (or three, depending on how the pages are folded) musical pianos, rare armoires, guns, pistols, Samurai swords, Durex condoms, and wrist watches. In other words, a richly-illustrated rundown of the history of the New York prosecutor’s office.

Records, Restores, Rescues

The storeroom is a massive haven for the forgotten, of the New York District Attorney’s office and beyond. The Manhattan D.A. does its own research, assembling and documenting inventories and recoveries from across the globe. After researching a case, you can check the museum to see when the materials were used in crime investigations – from 2000 onward.

More fascinating than the physical evidence itself is what happens when human misery is collected and taken to the museum. The D.A. rescues what it finds and preserves it for the world to see. The mission: to present the rare and the forgotten in a beautiful and respectful fashion.

There are various types of artifacts to choose from. High school alloys, costume jewelry, gold and silver find objects, even quite beautiful human body parts for in-depth dissections. But really it’s the rare history artefacts from the museum that people ask about.

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