International Spy Museum

06 January 2014

Noah and I went to DC last Friday after a snowstorm to visit two new museums (well, new to me). The first one was the Spy Museum just a little ways off of Constitution Avenue. 

After you pay for your ticket you get into an elevator that gives you a quick introduction to spying and then you have to memorize your secret identity for the tour.

I decided to be stealthy and climb through the duct work in the museum and spy on some of the tourists. 

There were many displays with gadgets that have been used by real spies and by spies in the movies. Many items displayed included cameras, hidden weapons, and vehicles with hidden compartments.

There were a fair number of interactive displays throughout the museum, though it was crowded enough that we didn't wait for all of them. 

There was a section of the museum devoted to the history of spies in America and internationally. My personal favorite item in the museum was a wooden seal that had been given to an American ambassador by school children in the Soviet Union. A bug had been hidden inside and after the ambassador hung the seal in his office it was transmitting conversations out of his office! It was pretty crazy to me that it worked and that it took a few years to discover it. 

Downstairs in the museum a James Bond exhibit is being featured. Lots of costumes and props from the movies. There were a series of "Real or Fiction?" cards around the museum where you got to guess whether the fact on the front happened in real life or in the James Bond movies. My favorite was "facial recognition technology... real or fiction?". Turns out that it was in a James Bond movie and the CIA director at the time told his men that he wanted that technology and they figured it out!

If you're in DC and are looking for a museum to checkout besides the Smithsonian, I would recommend the spy museum. I found it more entertaining than the Newseum and it was a few dollars cheaper as well. 

Hope you had a marvelous weekend! 

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