In Annapolis, Maryland is the National Cryptologic Museum, which is focused on teaching visitors about the National Security and the Central Security Service of the United States. As a gateway to public, museumgoers are able explore the history behind the National Security Agency and cryptology.

The different exhibits are based from machines and deceives developed by national defense, the people who devoted their lives to cryptology, and the places in the world where they worked. Situated near the NSA Headquarters in Maryland, the museum is filled with thousands of artifacts that provide education about the history of the cryptology profession in America.



The museum was originally designed as a house of artifacts for employees to be able to reflect on the history of the intelligence community. Yet, the artifacts quickly accumulated and developed into a priceless collection, and in December of 1993 the Museum opened to the public. As the only public museum that gives visitors an insight to the secretive world of the National Security Agency it is extremely popular. Approximately 50,000 visitors come from different parts of the country and world to peek into the secret world of cryptology and national defense.

The diverse collection of exhibits within the National Cryptologic Museum allows visitors to have unique insight in the exciting sphere of codemaking and codebreaking. Some of these collections include the 18th Century Cipher Device, the African-American Experience, Cold War: Great Seal, Cold War: U.S.S. Pueblo, and Computer Development: RISSMAN.

In the exhibit, 18th Century Cipher Device, visitors are taken back in time to learn about the antique device that uses scrambled alphabets to cipher messages. Believed to be the oldest existing cipher device in the world, it was used during World War I with the French language.

The African-American Experience is an exhibit that tells the story of African- Americans and their involvement working for the federal government and different government organizations such as NSA. In the 1950s the society within the United States began to change and many African-Americans were allowed to start moving into the mainstream workforce. Before segregated offices were abolished, they were given tasks not wanted to be preformed by white employees. Yet the exhibit tells the stories of African- Americans who were able to receive higher positions at work as segregation was abolished.

Visitors can learn more American intelligence in relation to Russia and intelligence tactics in the exhibit, Cold War: Great Seal. In 1945 a Soviet school children gifted a carving of the Great Seal to an American Ambassador. Six years later, in 1952, it was discovered that the carving was bugged, and today there is a replica inside the museum.

To learn more about American intelligence following the end of WWII, the exhibit Cold War: U.S.S Pueblo displays the attack on in 1968 on the ship Pueblo. After the war between Koreas, the U.S. navy was in national waters while trying to gain information on North Korea, at this moment North Korea attacked the American U.S.S. Pueblo. The ship remains in North Korea today, and represents the largest single loss of sensitive information. In the exhibit Computer Development: RISSMAN, it focuses on how custom-designed hardware was created to collect telemetry signals by the NSA in the 1980s. Throughout all of the exhibits, visitors have the ability to learn about some of the crucial moments in the history of cryptology in America.

The Museum is an education tool for the public and for students; there are tours and programs offered by the institution to teach about the history of cryptology. Some of the educational outlets include the Scout Programs, School Field Trips, and Guided Tours.

Cub Scouts are welcomed to the Museum to take part in an interactive and fun program, which includes using the Enigma and a simple cipher wheel to create cipher messages.

During the School Feld Trips in the museum, students are able to discover the secret world of ciphers and codes. With a variety of engaging programs students can learn about world history and understand how math is essential to cryptology. The Guided Tours take visitors through American’s role in history and world events. Beginning with the Civil war, the museum has exhibits that cover all of the defining moments in American history, concluding with the development of computers and Information Assurance programs. Along with the tour there are special talks on specific aspects of cryptologic history. The Museum is dedicated to giving visitors an insight into the history behind the National Security Agency.

8290 I Rd, Colony Seven, MD 20701, Phone: 301-688-5849

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