Wax depiction of dead Dillinger.

Dillinger relative forces close of Dillinger Museum

The Dillinger Museum, Hammond, Indiana, will shut down as a result of litigation filed by Jeffrey Scalf, great-nephew of notorious alleged crime figure John Dillinger. Sued under Indiana's Right to Personality Law, the museum's board couldn't reach a settlement with Scalf. Scalf has gone after other Dillinger-exploiting businesses and walked away with undisclosed settlements.

According to reports in local papers, his crusade began when another relative became upset over the continuing public perception that Dillinger killed people. Interestingly, Scalf has expressed interest in opening up his own Dillinger Museum -- perhaps to profile the positive side of the man?

The museum has operated quietly in an Indiana Welcome Center on Interstate 80/94 for four years. Before that, the museum was the collection of Joe Pinkston, who operated it in Nashville, Indiana before his suicide in 1998. The collection still includes dozens of wax gangster figures, Dillinger's Trousers of Death, the wooden jail escape gun, and the popular morgue diorama. It was always a cheery stop on cross-country hypertours....

With the likelihood of an auction or dispersion of the collection looming, a local author, Tony Stewart, has offered to take the collection and exhibit it for free. Stewart, author of the book "Hidden Truth," is the great-nephew of Dillinger's wife, and claims he knew Joe Pinkston.

The museum closing date has not been set.

In the old courthouse in the town square. Entrance on the north side of the building.
August 31, 2017: Closed permanently.

July 21, 2018

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