What is the P.I. Museum?

The P.I. Museum is the world’s only museum dedicated to finding, acquiring, preserving and displaying historic treasures from P.I. History.  Private Investigator Ben Harroll has, for over 34 years, collected a vast number of P.I. historic treasures and artifacts.

The museum has a very serious research and documentation purpose and goal, yet retains a youthful sense of adventure and wonderment about this endlessly fascinating profession.

The museum balances its collecting efforts between the real and the fictional. You are as likely to find an actual letter penned in 1852 by the hand of Eugene Francois Vidocq or a spy camera, as you are to find your favorite Dick Tracy collectible.


The PI Museum was conceived in the spring of 1978, when Private Investigator Ben Harroll first opened his business, Gaslamp Quarter Investigations in San Diego, CA.  The original office for his investigative firm held period décor from three eras:  1890’s, the 1940’s and contemporary.

In collecting items for these offices, Ben began a lifelong endeavor towards collecting items of historical significance and authenticity from these three eras.

Today the museum’s collection comprises so much weight and volume that it is currently stored in three locations: a cargo container, 1,500 s/f of donated space and a full one half of the ground floor of a warehouse.


Ben Harroll – Biography & Career Highlights

Recently retired after a successful three plus decades career as a Private Investigator, Ben has successfully helped to solve cases and to otherwise make life better for thousands of his clients.  Ben is an internationally known and respected Private Investigator with a reputation for getting the job done no matter the obstacles or challenges along the way.

High profile cases included locating Black Panther Minister of Information Eldridge Cleaver in Algeria after the fugitive escaped from U.S. authorities by hi-jacking a commercial airliner and fleeing to Cuba.  He also worked with US Senator John Tunney, Ralph Nader, and the Washington Post in uncovering design defects in Honda Motorcycles, thus forcing Honda to make their first recall.

Working as the American Motorcycle Association’s Touring Ambassador, Ben did undercover work exposing a kickback scheme within the organization.  Ben also exposed organized crime’s influence in California nursing homes, working with Governor Jerry Brown’s office, the Department of Aging, and other state government officials.

It was during these decades of a high profile and successful PI career that Ben began collecting historical artifacts from the industry he loved.

P.I. Museum will be his legacy to the profession and to the men and women in it yesterday, today and tomorrow – for generations to come.

The P.I. Museum can be reached by telephone at 619.239.6991 or by email at benharroll@cox.net.