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“Not worth the money or the time!”

International Spy Museum
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International Spy Museum
Ranked #48 of 432 things to do in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Opened in 2002, the International Spy Museum provides interactive exhibits and contains the most extensive collection of spy artifacts ever displayed.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Wheelchair access, Bathroom facilities, Stairs / elevator
A TripAdvisor Member
“Not worth the money or the time!”
Reviewed June 13, 2005

I was so excited to visit this museum in DC. From most of the reviews I had read, it was an interactive museum that "taught you to be a spy". When we first began the tour, it was like we were told. We were to assume an identity, and we were breifed on our spy tasks. after that....NOTHING! I remembered my identity and altered my appearance just so i could enter a museum and look at exhibits of replicas. Not one exhibit I looked at had a real spy item. The models they used were less than desirable some even made with play-doh and miniatures. My husband details minatures better than these people.

It sucked. They wouldn't give us our money back. It was OVERLY crowded. We stayed for seriously 20 mins and 10 of that was trying to find a way out.


20 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Highlight of my trip”
Reviewed May 7, 2005

I went to the Museum with group of friends and all of us liked it, unlike any other museum we went to. The only problem was that we were told it takes two hours and after three most of us weren't close to finished. thay some really cool stuff like a computer that allowes you to see a sattellite picture of your house. the only complaint i had was that some things can only be done by 2 or 3 peaple at a time and you have to wait. But even skipping that it was worth every penny and i cant wait to go again.

18 Thank no
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
“Great Museum”
Reviewed April 18, 2005

It was a great museum. It also had a a good special exhibit about terrorism in America, it is definately worth seeing. It was slightly unorganized but still very good. My advice is get your tickets a day ahead so you can go when you want and not when you have to.

19 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Expat in Turkey
Level Contributor
13 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Save Your Money”
Reviewed April 5, 2005

Very possibly one of the biggest rip-offs in Washington, DC. After waiting over two hours for admission to this museum on 4/3/05, we were EXTREMELY disappointed and irritated that we spent that much money for it. Save your money and go to the Smithsonian.

19 Thank nancy_rhodes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
141 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 252 helpful votes
“I preferred the National Cryptological Museum in Ft. Meade, MD”
Reviewed March 14, 2005

I have to give them credit; the Int'l Spy Museum has wonderful marketing and on first glance is very slick. Upon deeper investigation, however, I found it horrendously overpriced and lacking in content.

The Spy Museum contained a few interesting interactive exhibits. To fully experience them, however, required a great deal of time at individual exhibits throughout the Museum. This was extremely difficult given the very large crowds and complete lack of crowd control.

What disappointed me most about the Int'l Spy Museum was the heavy focus on spy-related fiction and movies. The few historically important pieces were replicas, as opposed to loans. You don't go all the way to the Lourve to see a poster of the Mona Lisa. And many of the more important details were either ommitted or ambiguous; there were glaring holes in the research. Given the location of the museum (walking distance to the Smithsonian) I was expecting a lot more.

A couple days later I joined some friends at the National Cryptological Museum in Ft Meade, Maryland. This museum is what the International Spy Museum wants to be. Many of the guides, as well as more than a few of the visitors, lived the history that is on display. The day we visited a group of elderly WWII Navy pilots gathered to reminisce next to an exhibit dedicated to their vessel. It was fascinating.

The marketing is not nearly as slick as the Spy Museum and the gift shop is very tiny. But the content is MUCH more significant, there is only a crowd during special events (ie booksignings), the guides are knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and admission is free.

36 Thank Shutter_Bug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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