History & Mission

The International Spy Museum features the largest collection of international espionage artifacts ever placed on public display.

The International Spy Museum, a museum exploring the craft, practice, history, and contemporary role of espionage, opened in Washington, DC on July 19, 2002. The International Spy Museum is the only public museum in the United States solely dedicated to espionage and the only one in the world to provide a global perspective on an all-but-invisible profession that has shaped history and continues to have a significant impact on world events.

The International Spy Museum features the largest collection of international espionage artifacts ever placed on public display. Many of these objects are being seen by the public for the first time. These artifacts illuminate the work of famous spies and pivotal espionage actions as well as help bring to life the strategies and techniques of the men and women behind some of the most secretive espionage missions in world history. 

In development for more than seven years, the Museum drew upon the knowledge of leading experts and practitioners in the Intelligence Community.  The International Spy Museum’s Advisory Board of Directors and Advisory Council include, among others:

  • Judge William Webster  Former Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Director of Central Intelligence
  • R. James Woolsey  Former Director of Central Intelligence
  • Major General Oleg Kalugin  Former Chief, KGB Foreign Counterintelligence
  • Congressman Louis Stokes  Former member, U.S. House of Representatives, and former Chairman, House Intelligence Committee
  • David Kahn  World-renowned expert in the history of cryptology, and former visiting historian, National Security Agency
  • David Major  President, Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies; and former Director, Counterintelligence, Intelligence and Security Programs, National Security Council
  • Keith Melton  Intelligence expert and technical advisor to U.S. Intelligence Community
  • Antonio Joseph Mendez  Former Chief, Graphics and Authentication Division, Central Intelligence Agency
  • Jonna Hiestand Mendez  Former Chief of Disguise, Central Intelligence Agency
  • Dame Stella Rimington  Former Director General, British Security Service (MI5)
  • Peter Earnest Former Covert Operations Officer, Central Intelligence Agency

The mission of the International Spy Museum is to educate the public about espionage in an engaging way and to provide a context that fosters understanding of its important role in and impact on current and historic events. The Museum focuses on human intelligence and reveals the role spies have played in world events throughout history. It is committed to the apolitical presentation of the history of espionage in order to provide visitors with nonbiased, accurate information.

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