Spy Museum: Where you become a spy

North America | | December 31, 2010 at 12:05 am


The sole Spy Museum of America is in Washington D.C where it houses over 200 weapons, gadgets, cameras, vehicles, bugs, and technologies that are utilized by intelligence across the globe. Know what microdots are, marvel at something called as the invisible ink, discover the buttonhole cameras, learn about the bugs of all kinds, and unveil the tales of spies from Moses to George Washington.

As the International Spy Museum is a special one, your entry will also not be like the usual ones in other museums of the world. Its controlled entry will offer you 5 minutes to recall one of 16 spy synopses with an assumption of fictitious name, birthplace, age, and so on. This one will then be your ‘cover’ with which you proceed into the museum. So, you literally become that assumed spy via this cover that also has mission assigned to it (see its plaque), but it is not required to complete. As you roam within, some guides who are policemen will actually stop you to investigate about your identity. This is really unique and exciting entry.

Your visit then starts with a film of 5 minutes after which a fun coaching is experienced into ‘Tricks of the Trade’. Interactive displays on the way will test your observation powers and will guide you as to how to deal with the suspicious activity. Besides the surveillance games, you will come across the trick equipment in this first section (a shoe transmitter as a listening device or a single-shot pistol as lipstick) along with a film wherein the spies reveal all the bugging devices.

Just do not be in a hurry to explore this vast museum and maintain some pace. In the next section, you will know about the spying history, which was the second most ancient profession. Discover the names of the popular spy masters (Moses, Sun Tzu, and George Washington), explore the use of codes, and marvel at the Enigma cipher machine that dominates one whole room. This machine was of the Germans who used it for its ‘unbreakable’ codes to succeed in World War II. And yes, have fun via the interactive monitors that facilitate simulating the same experience.

Still there is much more to see and do: watch out for the artifacts that is the largest of its kind of the international surveillance. These include a replicated tunnel in Berlin when Cold War was on; an exhibit showing you about the escape as well as evasion techniques of war; the intelligence-gathering stories of World War II; the tales of spies as per FBI agents; and a replica of operations center.

Among the latest feature in this Spy Museum is Operation Spy that will immerse you for 60 minutes in its interactive espionage activities. You will have to pretend as a intelligence officer and operate in a group while performing a video surveillance of meetings, deciphering audio conversations, and going for polygraph tests. This is how you know about the life of a spy. Fees are $14 for adults (12+) or $25 for both museum and this one.

Finally, you leave the Spy Museum and reach directly at its gift shop selling espionage items. From here, you can be at the Spy City Café for some cool relaxation. There is also a chic restaurant named Zola here. The museum also provides lectures, book-signings, and TV shows, and family activities all of which take into a broad world of spy.

Therefore, if you are a true aficionado of the spy world, this museum is surely to thrill you. This is because here you get a very rare opportunity to explore; in fact, I would say something special for you here welcomes you, which is not to be found anywhere else on the planet. And this is none other than the experience of becoming and acting like a spy. That is why I say, this museum is no less than an amusement park where rides are replace by spy world’s gadgets and interactive monitors!


$18 per adults, $15 per child (5-11), and $17 per senior.

Best time to visit

During the weekdays, but quite early in the day to avoid crowds later and on weekends.


Better book your tickets in advance on the Web site of the Spy Museum.


It is not recommended for children below 11 to explore this museum.

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