$9 Admission to the International Spy Museum

Downtown - Penn Quarter - Chinatown

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In a Nutshell

  • Nation's only public espionage museum
  • Interactive and multimedia exhibits
  • Access to permanent exhibition

The Fine Print

Expires Dec 25th, 2009. Not valid Thanksgiving weekend, Nov 26–29. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.

Jump to: Reviews | The Spy Who Shoved Me

Enter a high-stakes universe of secrets and deceit at the International Spy Museum. The nation's only public museum dedicated to espionage will take you to a dimension you didn't know existed to uncover the role of this all-but-invisible profession in current and historic events. Through interactive and multimedia exhibits, learn about everything espionage-related, from the stories of individual spies to national cover-ups to the gadgets a powerful spy needs. The museum is big, and there's plenty to explore in the permanent exhibition. Luckily, this Groupon gets you half-price entrance, right through the front door.

Here's what the museum's permanent exhibition includes:

  • School for Spies: Examine 200 spy gadgets, including invisible ink, buttonhole cameras, submarine recording systems, and Paul Anka records. Test your surveillance and analysis skills at interactive spy-stations.
  • The Secret History of History: Uncover the earliest stories of one of the oldest professions in the world. Learn how early codes were created and broken, meet the Sisterhood of Spies from the Civil War, and track the evolution of Russian spying back to its Cheka origins.
  • Spies Among Us: Learn about the operation of German and Russian spy rings in the U.S. during World War II, the intelligence that warned of Pearl Harbor, and learn how the atom bomb secret was lost, then found, only to be lost again in a New Jersey shopping mall. Test your own code-breaking skills while you're at it.
  • War of the Spies: Identify the spies who were concealed as foot soldiers in a divided post-war Berlin. Feel the fear of the Red Scare. Follow the progress of espionage technology from spy planes to satellites to affordable laser pointers.
  • The 21st Century: Visit the Ground Truth Theater to discover modern threats to society and learn the challenges facing today's espionage experts.

Reviews

Insider Pages reviewers give the museum five stars, Yahoo! Local users give it four stars, and TripAdvisor followers give it three owl eyes:

  • The International Spy Museum could be DC's most entertaining museum. The museum is sprawling…filled with gadgets, stories and presentations. Special exhibits also pass through, and tend to be equally impressive. – Phillip G., Insider Pages
  • My husband and I (in our sixties) were not expecting much when we went into this place. That changed-we were there for 5 hours!! It was informative, interactive, and a whole lot of fun. All ages, I am sure, will enjoy this. Well worth the charge and the gift shop is downright inexpensive--did some Christmas shopping while we were there!! – Diane, Yahoo! Local
  • My 10-year-old daughter insisted on visiting this place - it wasn't in my top10 for a visit to Washington but the whole family was engrossed for four and a half hours!....the place is rich in information about spy craft and in historical artifacts and several exhibits really set the mood of different eras like the Cold War and Vietnam War, WWII and earlier times. Don't hesitate to give it a try. – jonat1x, TripAdvisor

The Spy Who Shoved Me

Mariano smirked at the push-button keypad before him. He reached down to collect a pinch of dust from the ground and blew it gently onto the buttons where it effortlessly adhered to those most frequently touched by the greasy-fingered C.O.B.A.L.T. foot-soldiers (2, 3, 6, and 7). He got the combo on the second try.

Breaking into the headquarters of C.O.B.A.L.T.—the Cadre of Baby-Animal Loving Terrorists—was proving too easy. The metallic doors slid open with an ominous whoosh, followed by the clicking of three dozen military-grade Neurotomic Tissue-Redensifiers in the thumb-augmented flippers of a phalanx of baby penguins with murder in their collective eye. Too easy, indeed.

“We’ve been on to you since Monaco,” the head baby penguin sneered, in a voice like a 45 played at 78.

“You need me alive,” barked Mariano, slowly placing his hands on the back of his head.

“For now,” it squeaked back. “For now.”

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International Spy Museum

Considered to be the country's only public museum devoted to the history of global espionage, the International Spy Museum teems with multimedia displays, hands-on activities, and educational events. Filled with low-lit halls and mysterious doors, the museum backs up its exhibits with experience; many of its board members, staff, and speakers are former spies. Executive Director Peter Earnest, for one, spent more than 35 years in the CIA and its National Clandestine Service; frequent speaker Oleg Kalugin once held a position as major general of the KGB. Through special talks and an array of exhibits, the group reveals several hundred years of spy techniques and gadgetry, showcases connections between real spies and pop culture, and draws from international backgrounds to grant a global perspective.

In the Exquisitely Evil: 50 Years of Bond Villains exhibit, visitors explore the most memorable villains from throughout the James Bond film series, discovering the role the series played in shaping public perception of spying and exploring how the villains changed to reflect their times. Featuring over 110 movie and historic artifacts, a series galleries allows visitors to learn about the wide variety of evildoers from many perspectives. For an additional charge, guests can opt to embark on a simulated covert mission entirely based on real intelligence case files in Operation Spy, a one-hour interactive exhibit during which participants ride in simulated truck beds and use video surveillance to find leaked nuclear-trigger technology in a fictional country.