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There's definitely little spy in all of us. Test your spy skills at International Spy Museum

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Nalynn Dolan Caine |
International Spy Museum
Washington, D.C.   From lipstick pistols to a pigeon camera, there are exhibits for all ages

Travel back in time to learn about past spies and unlikely undercover agents. Adopt a cover identity and self-test spy skills along the way.

The International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. is the only public museum in the United States solely dedicated to espionage. It features the largest collection of international espionage artifacts ever placed on public display.

The non-profit museum now holds the world's largest public display of authentic spy tools and gadgets, accompanied by interactive exhibitions, first-person video accounts from real spies and radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology that invites visitors to take on a spy cover identity and test their own espionage skills.

Scanning the overall impact of spy craft on world history, the museum showcases some ancient Chinese wisdom including a note of Chinese general Sun Tzu's The Art of War, an influential work of military strategy, and a briefing on Chinese philosopher Mozi's description about a smart device to detect invaders tunnelling beneath city walls.

Another surprise for many visitors may be the historical facts on how Europeans smuggled the secrets of Chinese silkworm cocoon spinning, porcelain making and tea planting.

According to the museum, two Christian monks hid silkworm eggs inside a hollow bamboo cane and brought them west to the Roman Empire in the 6th century. And a French Jesuit priest, Francois Xavier d'Entrecolles, visited Chinese workshops in early 1700s and took detailed notes, giving European potters "enough intel to end China's porcelain monopoly."

In 1848, the British East India Company sent Scottish botanist Robert Fortune to steal China's tea secret. "Fortune smuggled out plants, seeds, information... and even some workers. His spying let the British launch production in India, which soon surpassed China as the world's top producer."

Also among the museum's highlights are a Four Rotor Japanese Enigma Machine made in Nazi Germany, a silver dollar coin with a suicide needle made by CIA in 1922, and some wreckage of a U-2 Plane shot down when conducting an espionage mission in the Soviet Union airspace.

While spies are told to deny everything, you will want to tell others you have been here.

Tickets:
Adult (13-64) - $24.95
Youth (7-12) - $14.95
Child (6 and under) - free
Senior / Military / Law Enforcement / Intelligence Community / College Student (with valid ID) - $19.95
Where: L'Enfant Plaza, Washington, D.C.


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