Cecilia Garland - Apr 6, 2009
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International Spy Museum opens up a host of secrets in Washington DC. The exhibits introduce to espionage, display numerous spy gadgets and inform about the recent history of terrorism in the US. 

They have been the subjects of the fantasies of many teenage boys around the world, the thorn in the plans and strategies of a number of governments for decades and some of the scariest people in history: spies.

It would make sense to point out that we do not know who the best ever spies were. The ones we know of must-have, naturally, been either found out, died or changed profession. To celebrate this fascinating subject, in 2002 Washington DC opened the International Spy Museum entirely devoted to the history and art of espionage, the only public museum on the planet with such a theme.


Visitors are lured by the presentation of over 200 spy gadgets, including bugs, disguises and weapons. There are explanations of the earliest ever codes, including details of who invented them and who used them. Indeed, those who claim to have an in-depth knowledge of history may now claim to have similar knowledge of secret history. Interest points of American history related to espionage such as Pearl Harbour, the Cold War and how the atom bomb secret was lost are all covered in the museum.


Among the most popular exhibitions of the museum is a touring exhibition called “The Enemy Within” which portrays the dramatic episodes in American history, from 1776 to 9/11, when the US was attacked at home. The aim is to contradict the common myth that the September 11 attacks were the only evidence of violence in American history. The museum contains artefacts from the assassination of JFK to a fragment of one of the planes used during 9/11, making a total of 125 major incidents of violence, subterfuge, or terror on American soil by enemies within its borders.

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