Privacy Notice

This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some are essential to make your site operate, others help us improve the user experience. By using this site, you consent to the placement of these cookies. Read our Cookie Policy to learn more.

I Accept
View My Cart Shop Spy

Press Releases


September 14, 2016

Opening spring 2019, new facility will be a permanent cultural resource in DC

WASHINGTON, DC (Sept. 14, 2016) —District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser and Museum founder Milton Maltz today joined in celebrating the start of construction on a new International Spy Museum (SPY) building, a landmark that will be a permanent cultural resource at L’Enfant Plaza in the nation’s capital.


More than 120 people attended a celebratory lunch held at the L’Enfant Plaza construction site, including members of the City Council, Congress and the defense and intelligence communities, along with city tourism leaders and representatives of the development team.

The mission of the International Spy Museum is to educate the public about intelligence and espionage in an engaging way and to provide a context that fosters understanding of its important role in and impact on national security and historic events.


“When I served in the National Security Agency in the 1950s, intelligence activities were rarely in the public spotlight,” said Museum founder Milton Maltz. “Half a century later, I founded the International Spy Museum with two goals in mind. First, I hoped to reveal to the public the secret history of history—the stories of clandestine operatives around the globe who worked in the shadows. My second goal was to illuminate the nature and broad range of intelligence, illustrating the techniques of spycraft and its vital role in both war and peace.”


In spring 2016, SPY converted from a commercial museum to a nonprofit when the Maltz Family gifted it as public educational institution.


At 140,000 square feet, the new Museum will provide more than double the floor space of the existing building, at 800 F Street NW, and will include new resources for educational programing, a lecture hall/theater, and multifunction event space with sweeping views of DC.


“It is important in today’s world, that the International Spy Museum exists to help the public recognize and understand the vital role that intelligence plays and its impact on history,” said Museum board member Ambassador R. James Woolsey, a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency who also served as ambassador to the Negotiation on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe.


SPY, opened in 2002, was the recipient of the city’s first-ever tax increment financing agreement. The deal proved profitable for the city as SPY provided a boost in economic activity in the Penn Quarter area, resulting in an estimated 150 new jobs and $2 million in new annual tax revenue, according to city records. Since opening 14 years ago, SPY has drawn nearly 8 million visitors.


“The District of Columbia is very pleased to bring an expanded Spy Museum to L’Enfant Plaza—permanently,” said Mayor Bowser. “We are fortunate to be able to retain this important resource that was such a catalyst for new investment in Penn Quarter. We fully expect the same kind of return in Southwest, both economically and culturally.”


The District of Columbia worked with The Malrite Company since 2011 to ensure SPY remained in the city. Through the District’s Revenue Bond Program, SPY issued a $50 million bond to help finance construction.  


The JBG Companies will act as owner’s representative during the construction period. Malrite and JBG collaborated on plans for the new Museum, which will be situated directly in front of the glass atrium on the Plaza. Renowned London-based architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners created a design for the iconic building that will have a distinct and dynamic identity. Washington-based Gallagher and Associates is the museum exhibition designer and Hickok Cole Architects is the architect of record for the project. 


Design features include a glass “veil” suspended in front of an enclosed “black box” exhibition space that will allow the movement of people to be visible from both inside and outside, contributing to new energy along 10th Street. The veil-and-box motif reflects the Museum’s espionage-related themes of secrets revealed yet hiding in plain sight.


Below-grade construction is underway. Steel construction begins this fall and the new facility is expected to open spring 2019.


The SPY development at L’Enfant Plaza will create more than 300 construction jobs. Additionally, the new and larger Museum is projected to generate a 20 percent increase in staff.


The International Spy Museum continues to operate at 800 F Street NW, showcasing the world’s largest collection of international espionage-related artifacts on public display. Its latest interactive exhibition Exquisitely Evil: 50 Years of Bond Villains is a phenomenal draw.


About the International Spy Museum

The International Spy Museum, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity, 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 and impact on current and historic events. The Museum's collection chronicles the history of espionage, from its inception, to the modern day challenges facing intelligence professionals worldwide in the 21st Century. For more information, please visit


Leadership of the Museum is provided by a distinguished Board of Directors and Advisory Board: Milton and Tamar Maltz, Founders of the International Spy Museum; General Michael V. Hayden, former Director of both NSA and CIA; Tom Melcher, Chief Investment Officer with PNC Asset Management Group; H. Keith Melton, Historian and Advisor to the US Intelligence Community; David Kahn, the world’s leading expert in the history of cryptology; Major General Oleg Kalugin, KGB (Ret.); Melissa Boyle Mahle, CIA (Ret.); David Major, FBI (Ret.); Antonio Mendez, CIA (Ret.); Jonna Mendez, CIA (Ret.); Malcolm Nance, US Navy (Ret.); Dame Stella Rimington, the first female Director General of MI5; The Honorable William H. Webster, the only person to head both FBI and CIA; and Ambassador R. James Woolsey, former Director of Central Intelligence.