Have a Sneaky Good Time at the Spy Museum in Penn Quarter

Exhibit at the Spy Museum

Catch me if you can: A collection of colorful disguises on display at the International Spy Museum in Northwest’s Penn Quarter neighborhood. (jaredeberhardt via Flickr)

For those of us who lived in the area when it first opened, who can forget the publicity assault we had to endure from the International Spy Museum?

I must confess I’ve never been there, but I may go someday because, at the very least, it’s an interesting museum in a city filled with them.

Billing itself as the only public museum in the U.S. solely dedicated to the black art of espionage, the Spy Museum also claims to be the only institution in the world that takes a global perspective on this spooky occupation.

Through a wide variety of exhibits, programs and what the museum calls “experiences,” the apartment renter in Penn Quarter can literally feel what it’s like to be a spy. As you might assume, this is an all-ages affair, but there are enough interesting things here to keep everyone attentive.

Plus, you get to learn cool, subversive stuff, and who doesn’t like that?

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International Spy Museum
800 F St., NW
Washington, DC 20004

One of the more interesting exhibits is “The Secret History of History,” which, not surprisingly, shows the colorful history of spying. That history includes a decorated World War I pigeon, the bevy of poisonous snakes that emerged in the wake of the Berlin Wall coming down and the Sisterhood of Spies, femme fatales – including, believe it or not, Josephine Baker and Julia Child – who lived up to their name.

Another good one is “The 21st Century,” which highlights post-Cold War espionage. According to the museum’s site, this includes “a bewildering variety of never-seen-before threats” that “sit in the shadows.”

How’s that for a selling point?

The hours at the International Spy Museum vary, but the joint usually opens at either 9 a.m. or 10 a.m., and closes between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Ticket prices also vary, but general admission for those aged 12 to 64 is $18; seniors 65-plus and those in the military/intelligence community get in for $17; and children 5 to 11 are admitted for $15. Tax is not included in the price.

If you’re looking for something to eat, go ahead and stop on over at nearby Ella’s Wood Fired Pizza.

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Located in Penn Quarter (Chinatown’s sister neighborhood) in Northwest, the International Spy Museum is easily accessible by Metrorail’s Gallery Pl-Chinatown stop on the Red, Green and Yellow Lines. In fact, it’s only one block away.

So, come on out and learn how to be a better spy. You can also spy on your next apartment with Apartment Showcase.

Scott D

Scott D

Scott is a local writer and has been with the Apartment Showcase blog since its inception in 2010.

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