International Spy Museum

Museums Penn Quarter
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International Spy Museum
© Marcus Qwertyus

If your idea of a fun museum experience includes adopting a cover and memorising your alias’s vitals—age, provenance, travel plans and itinerary (you’ll be asked questions later)—you’ve come to the right spot. Testing your sleuthing abilities, along with gawking at an array of spy gadgets, including KGB-issued poison pellet shooting umbrellas and Germany’s Steineck ABC wristwatch camera, adds up to fun for some folks—many of them under 20. James Bond junkies will be in heaven—the groovy silver Aston Martin from 1964’s Goldfinger assumes a central spot on the circuit. And in 2013, Exquisitely Evil: 50 Years of Bond Villains, with over 100 film artifacts, marked the anniversary of the Bond films. There’s interesting stuff, too, about the part played by codes and codebreaking in World War II, about the spying heyday of the Cold War, and the modern world of cyber attacks and cyber forensics. Not surprisingly, the museum has proved a huge hit since it opened in 2002; consider booking tickets in advance.

Posted:

Venue name: International Spy Museum
Contact:
Address: 800 F Street, NW
between 8th & 9th Streets
Washington, DC

Opening hours: Open daily. Hours vary; check website for details. Last admission 2hrs before closing
Transport: Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro
Price: Admission $19.95; $14.95–$15.95 reductions; free under-6s
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Brian M.

Very fun museum located in Penn Quarter.  Right from the start, you are asked to take on the role of a spy.  Learn your alias and your mission. There is a check point in the museum where you can verify that you know your details. You then watch a brief movie about the history of spies and are free to explore the museum.  Lipstick guns, cigar binoculars, and pen microphones are among the many different spy tools that have been used.  You can also do a "spy mission" around the streets of the museum using an iPad that provides clues.  When I visited, they had a fantastic James Bond villains display detailing all his past enemies.