The International Spy Museum is one of Washington’s newest and most popular museums. It has the largest collection of espionage artifacts in the world. It is the only public museum to be solely dedicated to covert spy operations in the US and the only one globally to provide an international perspective on espionage. The International Spy Museum was founded in 2002 and aims to provide the public with a glimpse of various spy operations conducted throughout history and how they contributed to significant historical events and various wars. The museum also has on display actual objects which were used during real espionage missions and introduces visitors to the lives of the men and women who worked as spies.
The International Spy Museum is a fascinating place with a lot to discover. It has excellent exhibits which present the undercover world of spying, especially in Washington D.C; the spy capital of the world. Check out the Cover and Legends exhibit which shows the different identification documents spies use during their operations and how important it is to keep a good cover.
The School of Spies exhibit portrays the various tools that spies use during their espionage such as bugs and buttonhole cameras and has 50 years’ worth of spy objects used by prominent spy organizations such as the CIA and KGB. In the Secret History of History, uncover stories of famous spies such as Julia Child. Other excellent exhibits look at espionage during the American Civil War and the 21st Century. Don’t miss out on the Weapons of Mass Disruption exhibit which looks at cyber-attacks and the new challenges facing espionage operatives.
The International Spy Museum is tons of fun, especially because it provides many interactive ways to explore the museum. The first one is Operation Spy where visitors 12 and over can take up a secret operation. They have to decode messages and engage in other spy activities to locate a missing nuclear trigger before it lands in the wrong hands. Another exciting experience is the Spy at Night which transforms guests into US intelligence officers taking on an international mission through several reality-based challenges. Spies at night can also enjoy delicious cocktails and appetizers from Zola Kitchen.
You will also want to try out the Spy in the City Program which takes you on a tour of the streets of Washington D.C using a Geo-Cobra GPS device and earphones. You will have to decode clues and audio intercepts to fulfill your secret mission. Also, check out Spy City Tours which allows you to participate in interactive missions and undercover operations. At the beginning of the tour, you will be debriefed through video by former KGB Major General Oleg Kalugin and former CIA Operations Officer Peter Earnest.
The International Spy Museum is tons of fun and allows you a rare opportunity to delve into the unknown world of espionage. Museum operating hours are usually 10 am to 6 pm but extend until 8 pm on Thanksgiving and Christmas. General admission to the museum costs $18 for ages 12 to 64, $17 for seniors 65 and over, and $15 for children between 5 and 11. Note that the interactive experiences are not included in general admission. Costs range from $14 to $20 depending on the tour and $59 for the spy city tour. Tickets can be purchased on the museum website.