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National Cryptologic Museum
Based on 84 traveler reviews
Tons of info, not necessarily well displayed
Nov 16, 2014 by: primerstar6 from Baltimore
I really enjoyed my visit to the National Cryptologic Museum. I'm not sure how well publicized it is, many locals I've mentioned it to aren't even aware it's there. It is very low key and understated, almost an afterthought to the National Security Agency offices located nearby. That does give the place a sort of ambience though. The museum itself will look a bit outdated to anyone used to modern science museums. There are definitely some relics on display, albeit in a sort of clunky way. I suspect the building was originally intended for something else because some of the displays are housed in odd ways not conducive for long observation. There is also so much information packed into the relatively small displays that I think one has to either get a guide or explore very patiently and thoroughly in order to get the most out of this museum. There is so much cool history here that isn't often talked about in history class. One gets the idea we're only scratching the surface of some of our nation's more covert operations, but this is a great introduction. Even with drawbacks like an isolated location and poor layout, it's definitely worth a visit, and is another good, free museum in the area. Free parking is on site.
FREE museum, scavenger hunt
Oct 04, 2014 by: Groovina B from Baltimore, Maryland
I am not going to attempt to cover the material of this place but if you are interested in spies, history, NSA or emerging technology this is definitely a cool place to visit. FREE admission, scavenger hunt for the kids with prizes at the end. Clean restrooms, vending and easy safe parking. It is a bit tricky to find this place so use your GPS. Watch your use of cameras as your are right next to the actual NSA campus. Gas station closeby if needed. This probably would NOT be a good museum for anyone under 9. Allow 2-3 hours to visit. Open 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month.
There's really not much to say
Sep 11, 2014 by: vodoqc from Maryland
I mean, the coolest thing, in my opinion, was that they have a hobo exhibit - I was not expecting that. They do offer a great overview of spy and intelligence hardware and background information. But, it is small and isolated.
Aug 28, 2014 by: Jerandnanc from Hartford, Connecticut
We took the Baltimore-Washington expressway from DC up to the museum. We were not sure exactly what to expect when we got there. We took a wrong turn and ended up at a restricted NSA entrance and were redirected to the appropriate area. We were warmly welcomed into the museum by one of the volunteers who explained the set up of the museum. As we walked through, one of the docents went into great, interesting detail on codes and ciphers. They have an exhibit with various versions of the Enigma code machine which you can use. Fascinating exhibit and much better than anticipated. The docent certainly made it fascinating due to his enthusiasm and knowledge. There were additional exhibits on the code talkers, starting with the Choctaws in WW1 to the Navajos in WW2. They have a Cray computer as well as most recent encryption technologies. The hot line established after the Cuban Missile Crisis is there as well. Overall, we though this was an excellent themed museum. The key is to engage a docent to explain the items in greater detail. The museum has numerous free booklets available for adults and kids. Visit it! It's worth the trip.
Very Interesting Visit
Aug 25, 2014 by: Ken L from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
We stayed in Laurel, MD last year and missed the exit and ended up at this museum. That was at night so this year we made a point of coming back and visiting. The museum was very interesting with some good historical exhibits related to cryptography and the history and context of how cryptography has been used. My son enjoyed the visit and spent a lot of time doing the quest activity. We would like to return for a visit next year as we will probably stay in Laurel, Md. again.
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