|Address:||8290 Colony Seven Rd, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701, USA|
|Working:||9AM–4PM 9AM–4PM 9AM–4PM 9AM–4PM 9AM–4PM Closed Closed|
An interesting place if you have always wanted to know more about codes and codebreaking up to around the 1950s or so. When coding became more computer driven, it became both more difficult to decrypt and less interesting to show in a museum -- after all, a computer that prepares your electric bill looks about the same as a computer designed to crack codes (except in scale and speed and cost, of course). That having been said, there are lots of fun things to see and do at this tiny museum. It is housed in a small building located outside of the fences at the National Security Agency. If it reminds you of a 1950s roadside motel, no surprise. Im told it was where visitors to the NSA were housed in prior years. The movie "The Imitation Game" (2014) tells the story of the British efforts at Bletchley Park and the role that the mathematician Alan Turing played in breaking the German Enigma machine -- its fun to play with an actual Enigma machine that is out and available to use yourself. It is also fun to see the enormous contribution that the American industrial enterprises (National Cash Register Company, IBM, etc.) made to the war effort and beyond in cryptography -- and to balance that against the totally unbreakable (by the Japanese) Navajo Code Talkers, low tech but high security. Nice little gift shop; docents can help the deeply interested to access the materials available in the non-classified parts of the NSA archives and library. This museum is rarely crowded (although at times a school group can increase the noise nevel and difficulty of having your turn at the hands-on exhibits) - well worth a few hours for those who want to know what was going on in the cryptology world a few decades ago. For more recent information, I guess you have to read the newspaper, Google Edward Snowden, read David Kahns book ("The Codebreakers"), and be prepared for math problems well beyond college algebra level!
An excellent museum for young and old alike if you have any interest in cryptography. There are many exhibits from the Civil War through modern day. You can play with a working WWII German Enigma machine, view enemy cryptographic equipment and code books, see the original Bombe machine used to break codes in WWII, view a lot of equipment used since WWII including super computers. Many exhibits show the importance of how secure communications was achieved and how breaking the codes were a major endevour. Many kid exhibits as well.
If you like codes, maths, and the geekiness of espionage then youll love this museum. If youre hoping that, because its the NSA, its got lots of cool spy stuff then you might be disappointed. This is a well put together exhibition but it focuses purely on codes and codebreaking. It can feel a bit like a school excursion in the way its laid out but its very informative with lots of detail. Its free and takes between an hour and two hours to see properly.
This place is rich with history. The tour guides are very knowledgeable and are willing to answer questions. If youre coming here to see the latest and greatest tech, dont bother. Most of the display items are legacy. Obviously they cant open up a museum to the public and show everyone current tech and methods. The museum is somewhat small but youll find plenty inside to pique your interest.
Lots of informative text panels on the history of cryptography as well as a variety of actual machinery and equipment on display that was used during the various wars in which the USA participated. Comfortable seating available in every room for fatigued visitors. The museum is free of charge with plenty of free parking and easily accessible from Route 32.
Called in to see if they were open, confirmed that they were. After 60 minutes of traveling and got there, sign on the door said closed due to power outage ... quite a bummer. was looking forward to it (and paid quite a bit to travel from my hotel to here). Outside of the building was pretty old and tired looking.... looks like it was right out of the 70s.
This is a bit of a specialty museum, but is very good if the history of cryptology is something that interest you. It is much more informative than the (now closed) Cryptologic Museum in Pensacola, FL. The museum has kids activities to help them understand what they are looking at. The hands on experience is also pretty cool for the older kids among us.
Wonderful for your inner nerd. Great to see kids who are not yet too cool for school scampering around working the crypto games. Really nice exhibits from Washington and Jefferson through satellite gear, with real Enigma machines and early computers (the bombe, etc.). Perhaps a little dry for those few who are nerd challenged. ;>)
If you are interested in cryptology and how it started, this is the place for you. Tons of info... They offer self-guided and guided tours, a library, kids area and a conference space. No charge to walk through the museum. This is a great place to visit before heading down to DC to check out the Spy museum.
The museum is small and does not take a long time to go through and see everything. The content in the museum might be a bit boring for younger children but they do offer a crypto treasure hunt for the kids. After solving all the puzzles in the museum kids can turn in their sheet for a small prize
This is the NSA museum. It was interesting going in there and seeing all the cryptography and encoding and decoding of years past. The guides there are all ex-NSA members so they have good knowledge of the stuff in the museum and can talk hours on it because it was there life.
You must go if you are in the area, at least once. They have two real, ENIGMA machines that you can use to encrypt/decrypt messages with! Many treasures and stories from ancient to modern times, describing how messages were kept hidden and how they were revealed.
Most authentic artifacts (as far as TNO gets you). This place isnt as extensive as, for instance, the International Spy Museum in DC, but the exhibits appear to be the real deal and some thing are more deeply explained. Small, interesting gift shop. Ample parking.
The information is very interesting, but the facility is a bit run down and the lack of updates show. There are some very interesting historical artifacts inside as well, including old super computers and enigma machines.
Interesting artefacts, such as the type of Enigma Hitler used and the great seal of the US carved into wood by Soviet children, complete with a listening device. Should be expanded to more current stuff of interest.
Thank you NSA for keeping America safe. We really have no idea how fortunate we are to have you stopping so many bad things from happening here. We appreciate it very much. Keep up the great work.
Spectacular WW2 exhibits on Enigma, Purple. The best collection of period code machines including a Bombe. Even have an enigma machine you can encode on. Better then Bletchley Park. Friendly staff.
Really enjoyed the tour, if you like history this will be a great visit for you. To see how our Country got secrets from our foes, and kept our secrets from them was interesting.
Nice museum, run by the NSA. The tour guide is very knowledgeable and friendly. A great look into our cryptographic past. They have some great enigma machines to play with!