Gumbo was visiting the International Spy Museum. Congratulations to PHeymont and PortMoresby, who solved this week's puzzle!
Being in the intelligence business for most of my career, I wasn’t sure what to expect upon entering this museum. It wasn’t on my agenda for the day, but I was running a little ahead of schedule and seeing the building on my walking route, I decided to take the plunge and plunked down my military veteran $16.87 reduced entry fee.
There were many other curiosity seekers and the line of visitors snaked around the stanchions that eventually led to an elevator where only a handful of people were allowed in at one time. Upon disembarking on an upper floor, I was cast into a room crammed with visitors who were enticed to adopt a fake cover identity, get a fake briefing, and go on a fake mission.
The only items of interest to me where the wall of foreign intelligence service symbols or coat of arms. I began wondering how I could find the exit immediately, but you are led from one closed room into another where when your time is up, the next door is opened. Finally, I emerged into a large gallery of historical spy gadgets and technology. I did do some work in the gadget related area many decades ago.
There was much to see here, as it was the most educational part of the museum in my opinion, along with the stories of historical spymasters. Photos in these darkened rooms were allowed without flash so most of my images had reflections of the ceiling lights.
The museum opened in 2002 and focuses primarily on human intelligence (versus non-human collection methods) and the important roles spies have played throughout history. The museum boasts that it has the largest collection of international intelligence artifacts on public display. There is a large exhibit on 50 Years of James Bond Villains and a museum store that I bypassed (except for the James Bond car) since I was behind schedule on my original agenda and they didn’t pique my interest.
One display on Sun Tzu attributes his Art of War as the earliest known text on espionage, which I believe was written on bamboo. Ancient Egyptians, I thought, also had extensive espionage methodologies but I didn’t see or maybe missed any display on Egyptian work in the museum.