The International Spy Museum is a privately owned museum dedicated to the field of espionage located in the Penn Quarter neighborhood of Washington, D.C., and one block west of the Gallery Place – Chinatown Metro station. Track today’s satellite technology back to its first stirrings. Photography and flight were both evolving – and a camera-carrying pigeon became a decorated World War I “veteran.” Learn about the earliest codes – who created them and who broke them. Meet the Sisterhood of Spies, a select few of the many women who were capable and suspected agents form the U.S. Civil War through the first decades of the 20th Century. Track the evolution of Russian spying from its beginnings under the “Father of the KGB”, Feliks Dzerzhinsky. You know the history, now you’ll know the secret history.
The over 600 artifacts in over 20,000 square feet of exhibition space relate the entire history of espionage and spies in real world-practice and in popular culture. The museum has extensive exhibits on espionage methods and materials dating from the Greek and Roman empires, the British empire, the American Revolutionary War, the American Civil War, the World Wars, and the post-WWII Cold War years.
Most of the exhibit areas bring visitors into the era’s espionage environment. Numerous visitor-interactive stations are located throughout the exhibit areas. At the terminus of the exhibit area an 8-minutes feature film updates and describes how modern technology has changed the face of warfare and terrorism.
A unique feature of the museum is its controlled entry, where visitors are given 5 minutes to memorize details one of 16 spy profiles they are to assume (fictitious name, age, place of birth, destination, and so forth) before they are allowed to proceed into the exhibition area. Later while touring the museum visitors may test themselves at an interactive display on how well they remember the “details” of their selected spy identity. They may also be stopped occasionally by museum guides acting as “police” and “questioned” about their assumed identity.
The museum complex includes an extensive gift shop featuring espionage books, DVDS, clothing, and other memorabilia; the “Spy City Café” snack shop; and an adjacent upscale restaurant, the “Zola.”
The Spy City Café at the International Spy Museum is a casual dining option for Museum visitors as well as neighborhood residents. This fun and upbeat café offers exceptional quality, service and style. Located at the corner of 9th and F Street, Spy City Café is home to the famous Spy City Dog, hearty sandwiches and salads with an excellent selection of hot and cold beverages options. Spy City Café is the perfect spot for lunch on the run or for a casual dining experience with friends.