VISITORS EXPLORE THE
SECRET AND EXCITING WORLD OF
BY LAURA COCHRANE
SMASHING, BABY: The exterior of the
International Spy Museum.
The nation’s only museum dedicated to the
profession of espionage is located, appropriately enough, one block from FBI headquarters in
Washington, D.C. With 95% of its contents devoted
to real-life spies (read: not a shrine to James Bond),
the International Spy Museum relies on authentic
concealment devices, sabotage weapons, and cipher
machines to bring to life the stories of the men and
women working in this intriguing field.
Visitors start with a briefing film, followed by a
tour of the School for Spies — a display of artifacts
and interactive exhibits. With two floors of spy
paraphernalia and lore to investigate, the museum
features the largest collection of international spy
94 Make: Volume 16
artifacts on public display. When done exploring,
visitors can watch a film about gathering intelligence
in the 21st century.
Despite its location in a city rife with politicians,
the museum tries to present a comprehensive look
at espionage around the world with a focus on
human intelligence, not political ideology.
For those interested in an extra dash of stealth,
Operation Birthday Cake is a children’s birthday party
rolled into a scavenger hunt. The facilities are also
available to rent out for an after-hours rendezvous —
perhaps for a shaken, not stirred, martini party?
Laura Cochrane is an editorial assistant at MAKE.
Photography courtesy of the International Spy Museum