If you find yourself in the DC area this weekend, the International Spy Museum is scheduled to reopen, its ribbon-cutting will take a place on Saturday, May 11. The newly reopened museum will offer a new dimensional look into the world of espionage. It’s new location is an eye-catching glass and steel building in L’Enfant Plaza in Washington, DC, a construction that took three years to build and more than $160 million. It is a labyrinth of virtual and real sights and sounds that document the evolution of the sometimes dark and dangerous world of spying.
The museum was founded by Milton Maltz, a US Navy veteran who worked as a code breaker in the 1950s, and was inspired by a revelation during his service: “When I was at the National Security Agency during the Korean conflict, I began to realize that the American public had very little knowledge of what intelligence was all about.”
The entire building has more than 140,000-square feet and it contains more than 7,000 spy artifacts, many of which have been donated by intelligence historian and private collector H. Keith Melton. These help provide a more holistic view on intelligence work that could have been showcased in the museum’s previous location where human spies were the primary focus. The museum’s executive director, Chris Costa stated:
“We wanted to focus on a universal story – and that is espionage that plays out in the shadows across the globe. We’ve studied how people learn. Technologies have changed. And we wanted to be more expansive… which means we wanted to tell stories of analytical tradecraft.”