International Spy Museum

February has been a super long month, even though it has the least amount of days. With all the snowstorms blowing through this month, I’ve had quite a few snow days, but because of these snow days, I had to put in a lot of OT, therefore I’ve neglected writing and visiting museums. Luckily, I have my backlog, so back to the summery days in Washington, D.C…. The Smithsonian museums are awesome, and they are definitely must sees if you visit, however if you want to stray away from traditional-type museums and visit something a bit more on the quirky side, then visit…

International Spy Museum, located in Washington, D.C.
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(The Spy museum doesn’t allow photography inside, so I didn’t take any, but I did see people breaking the rule.)

The International Spy Museum is within walking distance from the National Mall, so it’s easy to stop by when you need a break from art and history. When we visited in the summer, the museum was opened from 9am-7pm. Prior to visiting, I had checked the museum website, intending to buy the tickets online so we wouldn’t have to wait in line in the heat. Luckily, I didn’t; the free DC visitor’s guides, which are usually located in hotel reception areas, had a coupon for $3 off. So I ended up paying $17.97, after taxes and all,  and we somehow managed to get to the museum when it opened at 9am, thus avoiding any lines.

After paying for admission, we took the elevator up to the third floor to see the exhibits. The museum has three floors, but the second floor is designated for the special admissions offered by the museum, not for general admission tickets, so the museum really consists of two floors.  When arriving on the third floor, be prepared to strike a spy pose and get photographed.  You can also adopt a cover identity while exploring the museum; basically, you pick an identity, memorize the facts, and pretend to be that person during your visit. Later, you can see how much you remember about who you are pretending to be on the interactive stations.

The museum has a plenty of hands-on exhibits to give visitors a taste of what being a spy is like. One of the highlights of my visit was definitely crawling through the air ducts. You probably have seen people crawling through air ducts for a variety of reasons on TV. It is something that I have always wanted to try, and well, now I have, and it was a fun experience. (Not difficult, but not super easy either, crawling can be tiring.)

In addition to the interactive exhibits, the museum has a rather large collection of items on display. During the earlier section of the museum, there was so much on display, that I felt the organization was a bit messy and cramped. So I breezed through the earlier section, since I couldn’t really focus because there was too look it. However, I really enjoyed  the section about the history of spying. I liked how it showed various cultures and their spying histories. If you are big James Bond fan, than the first floor is where you want to be. The museum has practically the whole first floor dedicated to Bond, with various items from Bond films on display. I’m not a big James Bond fan, but I did enjoy the Bond gallery. You can try making your own villain lair, and hanging onto a plane at the interactive stations. (You don’t really hang onto a plane, but you grab onto to a pole and you try to hang on for as long as you can.)

We spent about 2 hours at the International Spy Museum, but we could’ve have spent more time if we looked more closely at everything and tried out all the interactive sections. For the price of admission that I paid, I felt that it was worth it. There was a lot to see, and there were many interactive stations that it warrants the admission price. (Electricity is expensive, and when you have more interactive stations, it costs more money to operate.)  All in all, I enjoyed my visit to the International Spy Museum, it was fun, and brought out the child in me with all the hands-on exhibits (I wanted to touch everything).  If you happen to enjoy quirky museums, like spy-related stuff or be a big Bond fan, then visit the International Spy museum, you’ll enjoy it (but be sure to look for a deal or coupons, you’ll enjoy it even more).

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