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“Very good but be careful getting there” 4 of 5 stars
Review of National Cryptologic Museum

National Cryptologic Museum
8290 Colony Seven Rd., Baltimore, MD 20701
301-688-5849
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Ranked #33 of 316 things to do in Baltimore
Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Attraction details
Owner description: A museum featuring the science of cryptolgy.
San Jose, California
Top Contributor
108 reviews 108 reviews
22 attraction reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
64 helpful votes 64 helpful votes
“Very good but be careful getting there”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2013

I took the Canine Exit 10, and got a bit confused as the which direction to take once I got off. There is an NSA Vistitors Center to the far far right, and the museum road is to the far far left (follow signs for gas station, frontage road.) There might even be a special exit a bit up the road but I missed it. This museum is math and crypto heaven, which meant most of the display were way over my head but made me feel super patriotic. Great gift shop filled with NSA merchandise, pens, logo magnets, coffee cups, etc. It was a fun way to kill an hour in between events for me, might be a several hour trip for someone who is actually a crypto talent.

Visited March 2013
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93 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Top Contributor
207 reviews 207 reviews
76 attraction reviews
Reviews in 75 cities Reviews in 75 cities
85 helpful votes 85 helpful votes
“The History of Secrets”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2013

A free attraction of cryptology within our nation; who would have guessed you could have a museum from that topic. This shows the history of how we kept our secrets secret while attempting, and frequently succeeding, in exposing the secrets of others. There are many fascinating exhibits and frequent tours given by the volunteers there. They make a good effort in making this interesting for the children. The gift shop offers some unique items.

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mountain View, California
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
16 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“You won't find a museum like this in other countries”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2013

This is the least expensive (free) if furthest museum (of 4 or 5, if you count) devoted to security and intelligence in the DC metro area. The pricier the Intl. Spy Museum will cost you about $16, but it's downtown near the FBI bldg. The others are even harder to enter (I've been in maybe 3). The former Colony 7 motel is a 1 story building so there is no up stairs.

Time: friends who work in surrounding buildings first advise 1.5-2 hours. This is OK for a first visit. The advantages of visiting mid-week: the library and gift store are open (closed on Saturday). And the gift store is a good (if small) gift store. These close an hour before Museum closing. They stopped putting the NSA logo on their plastic shopping bags, but you can get a green usable one (with logo). Their tee shirts have pockets (in contrast to other agencies which don't: very practical these guys are).

It's doubtful that this museum would have opened were it not for the end of the cold war before 9/11. My first visit was within a year of opening. You don't merely see an Enigma machine, you are allowed to touch, encipher, and decipher using an Enigma. Many of the objects are actual used objects including the polygraph. Since that time, I've worked jointing with a number of other archives and museums. The closest thing to the NCM is Bletchley Park in England which is oriented to WWII.

The NCM has many free brochures and flyers: some are historic, some technical (mathematical), and some for kids (early recruiting). Jack, the old, retired curator, wants people to know not to pay for these items given away free. Some patrons try to resell some of these documents on eBay.

The Library (if you have more time) contains some incredible documents including 16 boxes of the files of Herbert Yardley (The American Black Chamber). This resource is not to be discounted lightly.

The NCM holds almost annual meetings on the history of the topic in Fall (usually October, unclassified, near by). Otherwise, they have yet to adopt changing exhibits.

The visit date is roughly the time of the most recent visit.

Visited April 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlotte, NC
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Wonderful for everyone.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2013 via mobile

We came here today for 2 reason: 1. The review on tripadvisor. And 2. My 16 year old daughter's interest in this area.

This is a FREE museum near NSA in Baltimore. We have friends in this area who have not heard of this place. This is a great museum. My 13 year old son enjoyed the kids challenge. When he was done, he received a pencil and a really cool plastic puzzle for completing the challenge.

I learned stuff that I had no idea even existed.

We, my wife and children and I love this museum. It was perfect for our visit today.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
81 reviews 81 reviews
46 attraction reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
“Hidden Gem”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2013

We have visited this compact museum two or three times. It is packed with fascinating displays and you will come out wondering where the last 2 hours went. It is immediately alongside the NSA complex and there is an NSA gift shop selling a range of souvenirs. There are vending machines for refreshments.

Great fun to send/receive coded messages using WW2 enigma machine!

Visited November 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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