International Spy Museum Premieres Mini-Exhibit with Network's 'The Americans'


APRIL 2, 2014 – WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the International Spy Museum unveiled its newest temporary display highlighting the intelligence services of the USSR during the Cold War, in partnership with FX and its hit period drama The Americans. “The Americans: Fact and Fantasy,” on view for the in the Museum's lobby for a limited two-month engagement, provides a paralleled perspective from a tenuous time in the history of intelligence.

In FX's The Americans, two Soviet KGB officers posing as a suburban husband and wife, are entrenched in a deep cover mission. The spy tradecraft depicted in the program – from call girl disguises, to cached radios and crossword puzzle ciphers – might seem like Hollywood inventions; however, many of the devices and traps used in the 1980's espionage drama were actually deployed by KGB operatives and technicians on US soil during the Cold War. A selection of these artifacts are included within the display.

Visitors are taken inside the lives of these Soviet spies, otherwise known as "illegals," who were dispatched to the United States in order to execute operations while posing as normal, mild-mannered Americans. Guests will become immersed in Cold War paranoia while discovering the disguises and tools these agents used to gather secret intelligence, exchange information, and complete sabotage missions.

“Illegals, as the Russians called them, are real,” says Peter Earnest, Executive Director of the International Spy Museum, who is a former CIA covert operations officer. “However, they were truly ‘sleeper agents,’ which is to say they were deployed on much longer missions, often with extended periods of inactivity. The reality is that illegals would never do as many things as these characters do on each program.” Earnest continues, “The Hollywood rendition of the reality of espionage is always compressed in order to better envision oneself in the life of a spy undercover. That is what is so compelling for viewers and Museum-goers alike.”

“FX wanted to give fans of espionage more insight behind The Americans and partnering with the International Spy Museum was the perfect way to do so,” says Ramy Gorkowski, Director of Integrated Promotions at FX Networks. “By providing show props that fans can see and read about juxtaposed with spy gear recovered from real missions, this special exhibit demonstrates to museum-goers just how much The Americans reflects what was happening during the Cold War.”

Artifacts featured in the exhibit include KGB bugging devices; identification documents containing covers and legends; Soviet code sheets and ciphers; and a series of wigs and disguises integral to the missions conducted by the characters on The Americans.

“The Americans: Fact and Fantasy” runs through May 2014. The Americans airs Wednesdays at 10pm on FX.  For more information on the show, visit



The International Spy Museum is the only public museum in the United States solely dedicated to the tradecraft, history, and contemporary role of espionage and intelligence. Open since July 2002, the Museum features the largest collection of international espionage artifacts ever placed on public display. 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's permanent collection chronicles the history of espionage, from its inception, to the modern day challenges facing intelligence professionals worldwide in the 21st Century and the looming threat of Cyber War in Weapons of Mass Disruption. For more information, please visit



Set in the early 1980s just after Ronald Reagan is elected president, The Americans is a drama series about the complex marriage of two KGB spies posing as Americans in suburban Washington D.C. The series stars Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys and Noah Emmerich. The show was created by and is executive produced by Joe Weisberg (Falling Skies), a former CIA agent who went on to become an accomplished author, Joel Fields and Graham Yost, along with Daniel Sackheim and Amblin Television heads Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank.  The Americans is produced by Fox Television Studios and FX Productions.



FX is the flagship general entertainment basic cable channel of FX Networks, a business unit of Fox Networks Group. FX Networks is comprised of FX, FXM and FXX, its newest channel, which debuted on September 2, 2013. Launched in June of 1994, FX is carried in more than 97 million homes. The diverse schedule features a growing roster of critically-acclaimed and award-winning hit dramas series, including Sons of Anarchy, Justified, The Americans and The Bridge; the upcoming dramas Tyrant (June '14) and The Strain (July '14); the miniseries American Horror Story and Fargo (4/15/14); the acclaimed hit comedy series Louie and Archer; the new animated comedy Chozen; and scripted comedies Married and You're The Worst both launching in summer of '14. The network's library of acquired box-office hit movies is unmatched by any ad-supported television network. FX's roster of acquired hit series includes Two and a Half Men, Anger Management and, coming in 2014, Mike & Molly.