The International Spy Museum is the first and only public museum in the United States solely dedicated to espionage and the only one in the world to provide a global perspective on this all-but-invisible profession. It features the largest collection of international spy-related artifacts ever placed on public display. The stories of individual spies, told through film, interactives, and state-of-the-art exhibits, provide a dynamic context to foster an understanding of espionage and its impact on current and historic events. In addition to the Museum, the Complex includes a Museum Store and special event facilities.
The Museum is the creation of The Malrite Company. Based in Cleveland, Ohio, The Malrite Company develops innovative museums and educational projects across the country. Its collaborative creative team consists of research directors, top museum and exhibition designers, innovative video and computer developers, and leading architects and interior designers.
The mission of the International Spy Museum is to educate the public about espionage in an engaging manner and to provide a dynamic context that fosters understanding of its important role in, and impact on, current and historic events. In the words of the Museum's Founder and Chairman, Milton Maltz: "The International Spy Museum is more than history—more than information or entertainment—its mission is to reflect the significance of intelligence as a critical component of national security."
The Museum contributes to the public's understanding of the critical role of intelligence in the world throughout history to the present day. The Museum has tremendous potential to contribute to future research, publication, and public discussion about the world of espionage, including counterintelligence, tradecraft, covert action, counterterrorism, and the breakthrough developments in science and technology that have so characterized our times.
The Museum presents the world history of espionage within a context that will allow visitors to draw their own judgments and conclusions. The focus of the International Spy Museum is on human intelligence, not political ideology.
No. The International Spy Museum is a private and independent entity with no links to any government agency, foreign or domestic. The Museum has reached out to intelligence communities to ensure an international perspective for the exhibits and to brief all relevant organizations about the Museum's goals. A number of the Museum's Board Members are former leaders of the international intelligence community, ensuring the visitor experience to be as authentic and unbiased as possible.
The subject of espionage is addressed at several other institutions both nationally and internationally, including Moscow's KGB Museum, an exhibit within London's Imperial War Museum, and locally at the NSA's National Cryptologic Museum. Unlike the International Spy Museum, they focus on a specific time period or event and/or approach the subject from one nation's point of view. The International Spy Museum is the first and only museum of its kind that does not limit its interpretation of espionage by geography or specific time periods.
The International Spy Museum is located at 800 F Street, NW in Washington, DC's historic Pennsylvania Quarter neighborhood. It is within four blocks of the National Mall, directly across the street from the National Portrait Gallery, steps away from the MCI Center, and within one block of FBI headquarters. The Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail Station is within one block of the Museum Complex. Click here to visit our Directions Page.
The Museum hours are subject to change; for the most up-to-date information, visit our Hours page or phone our SPY-line: 202.393.7798 (202.EYE.SPY.U). The Museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. The Museum opens daily from 10:00 PM - 6:00 PM. Last admission is one hour prior to closing. The Museum hours extend for holidays, spring break, and summer.
The International Spy Museum is a privately owned and operated museum completely independent of tax money or government funding. Your admission fee, together with retail and membership revenue, supports the Museum's research, exhibitions, and educational programming.
General Admission tickets are $21.95 for Adults; $15.95 for Seniors (ages 65+), Active Duty Military, and Law Enforcement; and $14.95 for Youth ages 7 to 11. Children age 6 and under are free. Please note that prices do not include tax. Groups of 10 or more qualify for reduced group admission rates. Please utilize our Group Reservation Request Form to inquire about availability and to expedite the Group Reservation process. Once you have completed the request form, you will be contacted within 24 hours by a member of the Group Sales team to discuss availability and to set up an account for your planned visit. If you would prefer to speak with a Group Sales Representative (9:00 AM - 6:00 PM Mon-Fri EST) please don't hesitate to call 202.654.0942 or 202.654.0964.
Yes! While children of all ages are welcome, those aged 10 and up will gain the most from the exhibitions. Children are encouraged to experience the interactive activities at the Museum marked on the Spy Guide. Student groups are encouraged to attend and special workshops are offered for 5th through 12th grade groups. The Spy for a Day guide will help prepare students for their visit and provide activities during the visit. Children can also explore our upcoming KidSpy programs®.
The International Spy Museum fully complies with all ADA requirements for visitors with disabilities. In addition, wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis upon request for elderly and disabled visitors; and sign language interpretation (for public programs only) is available with two-week advanced notice. Click here to visit our Accessibility page.
The International Spy Museum Complex encompasses 64,000 square feet. More than 20,000 square feet make up the permanent exhibition space.
The International Spy Museum experience begins with an orientation to the techniques, tools, and other tradecraft associated with espionage. Visitors watch a Briefing Film and tour the "School for Spies," where 200 artifacts are displayed. The latter also includes interactive exhibits about audio surveillance, threat analysis, and maintaining one's cover. Visitors use this newfound knowledge throughout the rest of the Museum as they explore two floors of intimate galleries that trace the history of espionage from biblical times to the present day. Exhibits feature stories of real spies, their missions, their fates, and how their espionage affected some of the most pivotal moments in world history. The Museum experience concludes with a film about the significance of intelligence in the 21st Century.
The Museum features the largest collection of international espionage artifacts ever placed on public display, bringing to life the stories of the men and women who used these objects in some of the most secret espionage missions in world history. These artifacts, created by or for intelligence services around the world, have been obtained from a variety of sources. Museum curators conducted extensive global research, often with the help of private collectors and former intelligence officers, to locate artifacts. While some objects are a permanent part of the Museum's collection, others are on loan from international collectors in the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia, and elsewhere.
From concealment devices, sabotage weapons, and cipher machines to dead drops, secret writings, and microdots, the quality of the Museum's collection is unlike any other public institution in the world. Organized in a permanent exhibition, the collection serves as a foundation from which the stories of the men and women who used these objects come to life. These artifacts are supported with historic photographs, interactive exhibits, dramatic audio-visual programming, and film to offer a hands-on and "immersive" Museum experience, one that transports the visitor to another time and place with each exhibit space—places populated by some of the least known but most influential figures of the clandestine world.
The Museum Complex's Special Events spaces include a number of unique environments that provide an elegant and unique setting for your next corporate meeting, lunch, reception, or special event. The Special Events room is surrounded by an elegant wall of large windows overlooking the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum. This room can accommodate up to 200 guests for a standing reception and up to 150 guests for a seated dinner. Learn more on our Special Events page.
The Museum offers lectures, films, book-signings, and family activities related to espionage featuring people involved in espionage and those who study and write about them. These programs take a thoughtful and thought-provoking look at a wide range of historic and contemporary topics and issues. They provide "behind the scenes" information and new insights into world affairs. For more information, visit our Calendar.
Photography or filming projects are occasionally permitted at the Museum if planned and approved in advance. Please contact Director of Communications, Amanda Abrell, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.654.2843 with your proposal. All commercial projects must be approved by the Museum in writing.
Permission for professional photography by the press (including television) is granted by the communications office.
All advertising calls should be directed to the Museum's advertising agency, Pappas_DMI.
Employment opportunities are detailed on the Museum's website here. The Museum is committed to giving preference to qualified candidates who reside in Washington, DC, and posts all job listings on the DC Department of Employment Services' First Source listing, found at dcnetworks.org.
The website spymuseum.org offers the most detailed and up-to-date information about the Museum. Recorded information is also available on the 24-Hour SPY-Line: 202.393.7798 (202.EYE.SPY.U).
The International Spy Museum is unable to answer queries regarding the identification and appraisal of artifacts.