History & Mission

The International Spy Museum, a non-profit 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 Board of Directors and Advisory Board include, among others:

  • General Michael V. Hayden Former Director, National Security Agency, and Central Intelligence Agency
  • Major General Oleg Kalugin Former Chief, KGB Foreign Counterintelligence
  • Jonna Hiestand Mendez Former Chief of Disguise, Central Intelligence Agency
  • Judge William Webster Former Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Director of Central Intelligence
  • R. James Woolsey Former Director of Central Intelligence

The mission of the International Spy Museum is to educate the public about espionage and intelligence in an engaging way and to provide a context that fosters understanding of their 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 impartial, accurate information.