The International Spy Museum in Washington D.C. is a non-profit museum that offers visitors a glimpse into the world of espionage and intelligence gathering. According to , the museum tells a “fascinating and interesting tale of espionage and how it has shaped the entire world’s history.”
The Spy Museum has an interesting history of its own. According to , it has operated as both a for-profit and nonprofit entity, and it is interesting to learn how the legal status of the museum has influenced its financial strategies and income streams.
Visitors to the International Spy Museum can expect to be entertained as well as educated. , states that the museum’s high-tech, interactive exhibits are so fun that families may forget they are in a museum, but it is still educational. The museum’s new home, which provides more space and more details, isn’t afraid to flirt with controversy. .
The International Spy Museum covers recent spy history, most memorably Cold War era spying.  states that getting past Checkpoint Charlie, eavesdropping, surveillance and assassination are all given their due. The most famous traitors in England, the Cambridge Five, get a display that includes the hat and pipe of the most infamous of them all, Kim Philby.
The International Spy Museum plays mind games with its visitors, presenting the veneer of objectivity without explicitly naming its biases. 
The museum also offers a detailed definition of what a spy is, in the intelligence world. According to , a spy is strictly defined as someone used to steal secrets for an intelligence organization. Also called an agent or asset, a spy is not a professional intelligence officer, and doesn’t usually receive formal training (though may be taught basic tradecraft). Instead, a spy either volunteers or is recruited to help.
The Museums final design concept is a play on the business of espionage, intended to be hidden in plain sight and, much like the role of a spy, the Museum structure is not quite what it seems. .
Recommendations before to visit
- Purchase your tickets in advance. This will allow you to bypass the ticket line and enter the museum more quickly.
- Arrive early. The museum can get crowded later in the day, so visiting first thing in the morning or in the early afternoon can help you avoid the crowds.
- Wear comfortable shoes. The museum is spread over several floors, so you will be doing a lot of walking.
- Allow enough time to see everything. The museum has a lot to offer, including interactive exhibits and a collection of historical artifacts, so plan on spending at least 2-3 hours at the museum.
- Download the museum’s app for a self-guided tour to get more information about the exhibits and artifacts.
- Consider the Audio guide.
- Check the museum’s website for special events or temporary exhibits that may be of interest to you.