A fun museum. I was unfortunately harried for time, but I still had a very adventurous experience. sadly I didn't have time to explore the museum itself, which is half the enjoyment, but I DID get to participate in "Operation Spy," which is quite a lark.
I highly recommend this experience, but make sure you allot 2-3 hours for it to savor it most fully. I DO recommend that you participate in the "Operation Spy" scenario. It's memorable, and you won't regret it!
This is the best museum i've ever been to! Me and my friends found it while we were on a politics trip and didn't fancy the Smithsonian.
Its so exciting when you go in because you get giving a briefing and a fake-name. Its a very hands-on museum, great for kids and has loads of really, really interesting things in there too - even a secret tunnel that channels through the ceilings! Its the type of place i can imagine middle-aged men would love! I'd really recommend it to everybody!!
Definately check out the website aswell because it gives a taste of what its like.
OK, this was the COOLEST place! Don't be afraid of the line - it wrapped around the building when we were there, but were inside in about 20 minutes. When you first enter, you are given a briefing video and asked to pick a "cover" from the many posters and displays around the room. You are supposed to memorize the information on the poster (name, age, origin, line of work, etc), because once inside the museum you will be quizzed (via computer) to see if you rouse the suspicion of a virtual guard. You are given your assignment, and check that on another computer further inside.
Once inside, you get to see tricks and tools of the spy trade; all the "James Bond" stuff of fact and fictions (amazing how much of it is FACT). You learn about the history of espionage (referred to as the Second oldest profession), and famous spies. You get to test your stealth by crawling through an air duct (see the illicit photo attached). It was fascinating, and a little overwhelming. We were there for 3 hours, and the last part just flew by because at that point we had "museum brain" and were no longer absorbing information...
Gift shop has some great stuff! I really need to go back and by that Spy Garden Gnome - too cute!
Admission is $18 for adults, and worth every penny!
Museums like this supposed to be fascinating, at least funny but I was disappointed because most of the stuff seemed so dated although the fans of James Bond will be more than happy inside here. I have to admit that some interactive exhibits are interesting the $18 entrance fee creates much more expectations. Of course that’s my humble opionion, some teenagers next to us were screaming out of joy while they were trying some spy techniques but we got bored quickly. Maybe we were very tired of so many museums the previous days, so we weren’t really in mood to read tons of information about spy history since the medieval times.
They don’t allow you to take any pics inside, they don’t really care for VTers that’s for sure.
The museum's store was interesting with many nice little items that are really unique and make great gifts like miniature cameras, invisible inks etc
The entrance fee is $18. It’s open daily 9.00-19.00(some days till 18.00) with time tickets because they only let in a certain number of people.
This was much more interesting than I expected! I'm scouting out DC on my own and thought, what the heck. I'll go check this out. The Smithsonian Museums do not cost anything for entry. This is not a Smithsonian museum. So, there are various admission fees depending on what you want to get out of your visit. Lots of items on display and short films describing how a spy would meet a contact and bios on spies.
Walk in get you alter identity and proceed through the museum to learn how it was all done. Tours start on the hour and I recommed you get your ticket earlier before the hour as the line to get in is long as is the wait. We were told that in the latter part of the day there are less people so you can enjoy the exhibits more. Cost is $18.00 per person.
If you happen to have a longer wait. Try walking around the block to tenth street to see the old Ford theater. Open again Feb 2009.
If you are looking for a fun attraction, after all the serious stuff in the Smithsonian, I suggest visiting the International Spy Museum on 800 F street. The exhibits are interesting and interactive, you get a fictitious identity when you go in, and you're in for a few more surprises inside...
This is a great place for kids and adults alike. It really gives you a feel for what it would be like to be a spy. We spent 3 hours here and still hadn't seen it all. Unfortunately, we had a time constraint- but next time we are in D.C. I plan on going again to see it all!
The museum to see in DC these days seem to be the International Spy Museum. I didn't realize how popular this museum was until I got there and had to stand in line for a timed-entry ticket. This one isn't free either - it's $16 per person! While a part of me had a hard time justifying spending that much on a museum when there are so many good museums in DC for free, I have to admit it is a pretty good museum. It's not cheesy in any way. There is a lot of history on spies all around the world, from ages ago, and the more recent past. It's not just about spies either. You also learn about the art of deception, and you'd be surprised how it all ties into the history you learn from textbooks. Many real-life (not the kind you see in movies) spy artifacts are also on display. The museum is also great for older kids since there are some interactive exhibits. I could've easily spent 3 hours there, but we only got in at 4 and the museum closed at 6. I suggest going early for this one.
the international spy museum is a very interesting museum on the history of espionage. the museum has a video on the life of a spy and a collection of over 200 artifacts related to espionage. the most intersting items are a german WWII cipher machine, a soviet shoe transmitter and a wristwatch camera. an interesting place to visit when in washington.
Somehow my husband found this museum - I thought he was crazy until my parents and our best friends told us it was a really neat museum. It is so much more extensive than you think! There are tons of exhibits on espionage. There are especially a lot on Russian vs. US cold war spy tactics, but we didn't get to see all that because we were exhausted after looking at stuff for two hours! They pay homage to James Bond and other spies, but its amazing what gadgets actually existed. Female spies, famous spies, normal citizens helping people out of East Germany - I was pleasantly surprised.
It's privately owned so it costs money (unlike the Smithsonians!) and it can get ridiculously crowded and congested. If you go on an off time (weekdays perhaps) and get through the first exhibits, the end empties out considerably. I thought I had reached the end at WWII, but there was at least another hour of exhibits to see. The gift shop has nice kitchsy spy stuff too - James Bond, Pink Panther, La Femme Nikita to name a few. A completely different experience!
This is a great hands-on museum that gives a historical look at the spy business. They go all the way back to medieval times, renaissance times, the 1800s, etc. They have info about weapons, surveillence, and disguise stuff.
The museum is open from 10-8 during the summer. They close at 6pm in the winter.
Tickets are time and date specific. They only let a certain number of people in at a time so that it's not so crowded.
The Spy Museum cost $16 which may catch you by surprise because all the other museums in the city are free but this was is privately run. It is well worth the visit apparently Washington, DC has more spies than any other city in the world. Really that is probably not that hard to believe at all.
You have to buy a ticket to enter at a certain time, the place is very busy and it was sold out each of the days I visited in February the non peak season so it is popular. When you get checked through it is interactive and you are asked to assume a different identity and you are tested at the end.
After this they usher you into a briefing room and then on to a training section where you go through some spy training. The rest of your visit you get to see lots of artifacts and tools of the trade. You learn about some of the worlds most famous spies and the consequences of getting caught. As it said at the end of the tour the worlds best spies you will never know who they are.
I thought the information there about the former KGB was interesting too. I found it a little hard to navigate the museum and it was hard to really read much and be comfortable because there were so many people there. I really found the whole experience intriguing though and it would be neat to learn more about this secret world.
There is a spy café and gift shop also on site. Enjoy your visit!
800 F Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20004 *202.393.7798*
Located right between the National Portrait Gallery and the FBI Building, is located the museum of spies .... where one can go and learn of the cunning and glamour of spies. Building is host to the Spy City Cafe - open for breakfast and lunch, as well as a pretty cool shop and museum store - selling invisible inks, disguise kits, miniature cameras, clandestine recording devices, ciphers, books, CDs, and collectibles. You start out in a florescent elevator that leads you to a chamber with a guard who tells you to collect your alternate identity and to choose the mission - as you go through halls and chambers where you will be taught the history of spies, famous spies, the tools, the techniques, the skills, the disguises, the arts. You will learn how to place bugs. You will learn how to make a microdot. You will learn how to pick locks. You will learn how to crawl silently through the airducts. You will learn how to listen and eavesdrop. One of the largest collections of international espionage artifacts and weapons. Rating: 4 stars out of 5. Visited 1/8/2007.
Now it can be told. Throughout all of history, espionage has played a key role in the affairs of nations. Political, military, and economic intelligence had been instrumental in maintaining our own national security. And intelligence failures have cost many countries dearly, including ours.
The Spy Museum provides the casual tourist a chance to learn about this arcane but fascinating subject. There is still a great deal that cannot yet be revealed. However, this is one of Washington's best new attractions. Sorry, but no photos are allowed inside.