By Susanna Speier
Denver Private Investigator Blogger
The International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. is one-third theme park, one-third History Channel documentary and one third behemoth shrine to every imaginable type of gadgetry that you may or may not have imagined.
On the outside It's a corner building near to the Shakespeare Theater and the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery where you enter through the gift shop. Did I mention a lot of gadgetry?
Interactive elements make the museum exceptionally kid-friendly. And they seem to have all kinds of educational outreach initiatives going on. But back to the gadgetry, which isn't only hard to take in but difficult to focus on due to the shifting polyphonic soundtracks as you walk through the exhibits. And the video screens and the blinking lights. Wait...where was I?
Okay, the blurbs on the plaques are robust with meticulously researched anecdotes. As the experience itself makes it difficult to focus for a long period of time it is also recommended that you plan to spend half a day there and take breaks when you need them because the collection is as extensive and comprehensive as the history of the profession, itself. It will also take you back farther than you expected it to go.
The Cold War era segment --a sizable part of the museum-- provides artifacts from Cold War history and gives detailed insights into how government operatives conceal devices to enable them to pick almost every kind of lock imaginable. Granted, KGB lock picking devices have no relevance to a private investigator who is restricted by the same laws that would restrict any other citizen from picking a lock that doesn't belong to them. But, hey, in the world of international espionage, sky's the limit. More or less...
(end of part I.)
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