International Spy Museum

May 23, 2010


During our last day in Washington D.C. we visited the International Spy Museum. It may sound like one of those museums that are a bit of a gimmick, but we had a really good visit and stayed almost 4 hours. We would have stayed even longer if it hadn’t been closing, we easily had at least another hour’s worth to see – we were very thorough though, i.e. reading/ watching/ trying everything, so as with any museum it probably helps to have some interest in the subject to begin with.

Overall, we thought it was well worth the $18 entry fee. Of all the museums we visited during our trip, we thought this had the best balance of displays, text, touch objects, interactives & activities, AVs, historical/ factual information and fun facts. We particularly enjoyed the way the visit started, which was by having 5 minutes in an ‘ante chamber’ to memorise a persona and all their relevant details (a good spy never writes anything down!), on which you were then later tested, once early on in the visit and then again at the very end – in our case almost 4 hours later (but we still passed^^).

If you have even the slightest interest in espionage and its history I would definitely recommend a visit. From a ‘busman’s holiday’ point of view it’s well worth checking out too in terms of the balance of interpretation. They also have several GPS tours, lasting between 1 and 2 hours, that take you around the city, though they cost extra and we didn’t have time to try them out.

TIP: With an ICOM membership card you get a $2 discount. The receptionist didn’t seem to familiar with it, but if you persist they will look it up on their system.


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