Annapolis Junction, Maryland: National Cryptologic MuseumThe National Cryptologic Museum provides a "peek behind the curtain" at the world of code-making and code-breaking for our national defense.
National Cryptologic Museum
- 9900 Colony Seven Rd, Annapolis Junction, MD
- Baltimore-Washington Pky to Hwy 32/Fort Meade exit. East on Hwy 32. Quick turn onto Canine Rd. Quick turn at the light onto Colony Seven Rd. Museum is on the right.
- M-F 9 am - 4 pm, Sa 10 am - 2 pm. (Call to verify)
- RA Rates:
- Worth a Detour
Visitor Tips and News About National Cryptologic Museum
The museum does an excellent job of highlighting how cryptology has shaped history -- these three exhibits are standouts:
During WWI, Germany sent a telegram to the German ambassador in Mexico, proposing an alliance with Mexico to keep the USA engaged while Germany stepped up submarine attacks in the Atlantic. The telegram was intercepted and decrypted.
During the Cold War, Soviets planted a bug in a replica of the Great Seal of the United States, then gave it to a U.N. ambassador. Technical surveillance countermeasures discovered the bug.
During WWII, Germany used an electro-mechanical device, called the Enigma machine, to encrypt messages. The US Navy developed a machine, called the Bombe, to crack the codes. The Enigma is rather small. In comparison the Bombe is about 7 feet high and weights about 2 1/2 tons![swtrekker, 08/09/2011]
Cryptology is a secret world. Success, if it is to endure, must be hidden. The actors in the drama, like deep cover agents, normally remain anonymous. The National Cryptologic Museum provides a "peek behind the curtain" at a once-secret world -- the exploitation of enemy cryptology and the protection of American communications.
At the National Cryptologic Museum, visitors can glimpse some of the dramatic moments in the history of American cryptology. The people who devoted their lives to cryptology and national defense, the machines they built, the techniques they used, and the places where they worked, are on display. For the visitor, some events in American history will take on a new meaning. For the cryptologic professional, it is an opportunity to absorb the heritage of the profession.
Museum visitors are provided a brochure which addresses displays and enables them to take a self-guided tour. Guided tours may also be scheduled.[John Wray, 04/26/2001]
This museum opened in 1993 in the old Colony 7 Motel. It exhibits rare encryption artifacts, such as 18th century cipher devices and a Nazi Enigma machine. April 2011: Photo added.