Gallery: Spying That Shaped History

In this gallery, seven exhibits illustrate the impact of intelligence on history, including successes and failures, new tech tools, and the tension in balancing the needs for secrecy and liberty.

FEATURED EXHIBITS

  • Spying Launched A Nation
  • Spying in WWII
  • Top Secret
  • Cyber: The New Battlefield
  • Fateful Failures
  • Who Would Have Guessed?
  • License to Thrill Theater

PERMANENT EXHIBITION

Why Spy? Theater

Theater

Discover the stories about when intelligence has helped shaped the world in which we live, and explore how spy agencies respond to threats all nations face. Issues addressed: How to strike the right balance between security and freedom, and between secrecy and openness?

Spying That Launched A Nation

Exhibit

Meet America’s first spymaster…George Washington and uncover how he used the power of espionage to outsmart and outmaneuver and win the Revolution .

Spying in WWII

Exhibit

From OSS to CIA - Meet the spies, saboteurs, commandos, propagandists, and analysts who aided in Allied efforts on and off the battlefield.

Top Secret

Exhibit

This exhibit explores the tensions between the secrecy necessary for spy agencies to operate and the openness necessary for effective democracy. The stories featured cover the trial and execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg as well as to 21st century leaker Edward Snowden.

Cyber: The New Battlefield

Exhibit

From propaganda to sabotage, from economic interference to political meddling, the brave new world of cyber operations let intelligence agencies gather information or disrupt vital systems swiftly, safely, and remotely.

Fateful Failures

Exhibit

In 1941 and 2001, attacks on the US caught leaders off guard. Japan’s strike at Pearl Harbor and the September 11 terror attacks. This exhibit compares the two events and illustrate some of the many challenges intelligence analysts face in delivering clear warnings that leaders can act on—and show the consequences of getting it wrong.

License to Thrill

Exhibit

Few people live the life of a spy—leaving a gap in the public’s understanding of real intelligence work that has been filled by popular culture for almost a hundred years. Here, visitors can see a sample of spy toys and games from past to present and hear intelligence officers comment on the reality and fiction in spy movies.

Who Would Have Guessed?

Exhibit

You may know their names—but you probably don’t know that they were also spies. This exhibit reveals the unexpected spy stories of people from the Civil War (such as Harriet Tubman), WWII (such as Moe Berg), the Cold War (such as Harpo Marx), and today.