Template:Advert Template:Infobox Museum The International Spy Museum is a privately owned museum dedicated to the field of espionage located within the 1875 Le Droit Building in the Penn Quarter neighborhood of Washington, D.C., across the street from the Old Patent Office Building (which houses the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery) and one block south of the Gallery Place Metro station.
Formation[edit | edit source]
The International Spy Museum was formed as a for-profit organization by Milton Maltz and The Malrite Company. Milton Maltz, a code-breaker during the Korean War, founded the Malrite Communications Group in 1956 (which later became The Malrite Company) and was CEO until it was sold in 1998.
The Malrite Company provided half of the foundation cost of the International Spy Museum. The other $20 million came from the District of Columbia as enterprise zone bonds and TIF bonds. The International Spy Museum is part of the ongoing rejuvenation of the Penn Quarter in D.C., kicked off in the 1990s by the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation.
Exhibits[edit | edit source]
The over 600 artifacts in over 20,000 square feet (1900 m²) of exhibition space relate the history of espionage and spies in real-world practice and in popular culture. The museum has extensive exhibits on espionage methods and materials dating from the Greek and Roman empires, the British empire, the American Revolutionary War, the American Civil War, the World Wars, and the Cold War years.
Most of the exhibit areas bring visitors into the era's espionage environment. Numerous visitor-interactive stations are located throughout the exhibit areas. At the terminus of the exhibit area an 8-minute feature film updates and describes how modern technology has changed the face of warfare and terrorism.
Choosing a "cover"[edit | edit source]
A unique feature of the museum is its controlled entry, where visitors are given 5 minutes to memorize details of one of 16 spy profiles they are to assume (fictitious name, age, place of birth, destination, and so forth) as their "cover" before they are allowed to proceed into the exhibit area. Each "cover" is subtly assigned a mission on the plaque bearing its details, but completion is not required. Later while touring the museum visitors may test themselves at an interactive display on how well they remember the details of their selected spy identity. They may also be stopped occasionally by museum guides acting as "police" and "questioned" about their assumed identity.
Operation Spy[edit | edit source]
The museum also has an interactive exhibit called Operation Spy, where visitors assume the roles of covert agents and participate in a one-hour Hollywood-style spy simulation, in which they move from area to area and are faced with puzzles, tasks, motion simulators, sound effects, and video messages as they work through a mission involving the interception of a secret arms deal involving a nuclear device. This exhibition has a separate admission fee and separate entrance from the museum's permanent exhibit.
Spy in the City[edit | edit source]
In the spring of 2009, the museum began a new interactive called "Spy in the City", where visitors are given a GPS-type device and tasked with finding "clues" near various landmarks in the area surrounding the museum, for the purposes of fulfilling a "mission" of obtaining the password for a secret weapon.
Other features[edit | edit source]
The museum complex includes an extensive gift shop featuring espionage books, DVDs, clothing, and other "memorabilia"; the "Spy City Cafe" snack shop; and an adjacent upscale restaurant, Zola.
Television Show[edit | edit source]
Criticism[edit | edit source]
Critics have noted that several of the museum's board members are former Central Intelligence Agency agents, that it glosses over criticism of the CIA, and generally romanticizes intelligence work. Nevertheless, the collaboration with various members of the intelligence community has brought authenticity to the exhibits.
See also[edit | edit source]
- Defense Intelligence Agency
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Imperial War Museum
- National Cryptologic Museum
- National Security Agency
- The Moscow Rules
References[edit | edit source]
- Radosh, Ronald (2010). "Scoping Out The International Spy Museum". Academic Questions. 3 23: 287-297.
- "Plan a Visit: Ticketing & Admission Rates". International Spy Museum. http://www.spymuseum.org/plan/ticketing.php. Retrieved 2008-11-07. [dead link]
- [Folkinshteyn, Benjamin, “Washington as First Action Hero: Museums Redefined,” DePaul Journal of Art, Technology & Intellectual Property Law (Fall 2007): 8.]
- [“36 C.F.R. Chapter IX – Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation,” JustiaUsLaw.com, accessed April 22, 2011, http://law.justia.com/cfr/title36/36cfrv3_02_900.html.]
- "About: Frequently Asked Questions". International Spy Museum. http://www.spymuseum.org/about/faq.php. Retrieved 2008-11-07. [dead link]
- "Come in from the Cold at the International Spy Museum". Roaming the Planet. http://roamingtheplanet.com/2011/03/come-in-from-the-cold-at-the-international-spy-museum/. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
- Kennicott, Philip (2002-07-17). "It's No Secret: Spy Museum Welcomes Snoopers". The Washington Post: p. C01.
- "Board of Directors - Spy Museum". http://www.spymuseum.org/board-directors. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
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