Travel reviews by
National Cryptologic Museum
Based on 91 traveler reviews
Fun and interesting
Apr 12, 2015 by: eepotter from
The real challenge with this place is getting there. I'm sure the NSA doesn't get hugely excited about visitors, but they could have done a nicer job of pointing people to the museum. My GPS seemed to be leading me elsewhere, so I followed signs from the highway that led to a parking lot (N-10). The lot seems to be employee parking and was completely full; as I was circling it looking for a spot I frequently doubted that I was in the right place, except that I could see some airplanes parked off to the side, which are connected to the museum. There's an overflow lot in the back, which was also completely full. I finally found a spot and wandered to the airplanes, which is when I found a walking trail to the actual museum, which was connected to the back lot (no visible signs for it in the parking lot) - and it has dedicated parking! So - if you want to go here, and you end up in the N-10 lot, go to the overflow lot in the back and as soon as you can turn left and follow the drive around to the short, unmarked building. Now the museum itself - free of charge, and really really interesting. Everything there has a detailed and gripping explanation of what it is, why it is important, and how/when it was used. A good part of the museum is dedicated to the people of the NSA, which I thought was especially appropriate and really well done. The other half is dedicated to technology and history. There are a couple of ENIGMA machines that you can actually play with, which was pretty fun. I have very little interest in cryptology and expected to breeze through in 30 minutes or so, but the museum was completely fascinating and I ended up spending more than 2 hours there. This is a truly hidden gem and I highly recommend it.
Apr 04, 2015 by: MarylandCatmom from Maryland
This small and somewhat difficult to find (DO NOT turn in at the NSA gate or you will find yourself politely but firmly submitted to some scrutiny before being pointed in the right direction) is an absolutely gem. Although it's listed as being in Baltimore, it is south of Baltimore, much closer to Ft. Meade. The collection is wonderful and covers a large part of the history of espionage and cryptology. The docents, many of whom are retired NSA or other government employees, are very knowledgeable. There are organized tours of the facility or you can wander at your leisure. If a tour guide is saying something that interests you, feel free to stop and listen; they never seem to mind. Look for the seal that the Russian children gave to the US government. There's a surprise story attached to it. The Enigma machine is of special note as well. Call ahead to verify opening times. As the museum is staffed largely, if not entirely, by volunteers, they have had to cut back some on their Saturday hours. Currently they are open the first and third Saturday of every month, in addition to their weekday hours. There is also an extensive library available. Materials may not be checked-out.
Love this place
Mar 10, 2015 by: Analise83 from Augusta, Georgia
I used to live in Maryland and I basically always tried to drag people over here. I actually found that I liked going to the Cryptologic Museum even more than the International Spy Museum down in DC despite how flashy the latter is (of course, the Cryptologic Museum is free to enter so that helps...). Anyway, there's all kinds of neat artifacts and stories here and I've always found the staff to be very helpful and friendly. The best is, of course, the ENIGMA machine display. :) Sure, it's not down on the National Mall, but it's not in a bad location if you're on your way to DC from Baltimore (right off of 295!) and the pricetag (free) doesn't hurt either. Be careful to check the hours, I don't remember that they stay open very late and they're open even shorter on Saturdays. Still, it's a good place to go if you're interested in history, cryptography, or want an interesting place to take your kids (they have a few kids displays in addition to the more "boring" stuff).
Mar 09, 2015 by: Ladira from
My husband and some friends have urged me to go to this museum and it was well worth a visit. There is a lot of information on codes and ciphers and how they were used in different eras, especially in times of war. There are also profiles of key people involved in the field. We did a self-guided walk-through because we were at the wrong time to catch one of the guided tours, but there was a lot to read, and you can even operate an Enigma machine on display. One section was closed for renovation, and those in our group who had visited before noted that objects on display had changed since the last visit. So it seems to be the type of place where you can learn new things at each visit. It's a relatively small museum and out of the way, but worth the effort to get there.
Feb 28, 2015 by: R K from Woodbridge, Virginia
This is a little bit out of the way, right beside NSA off of US 32. I was on a business trip and had time to kill... Glad I did. whether you are a math whiz, history buff, or a "Cryppy" this will intrigue you. Starts all the way back in 1800s... Codes, machines, techniques, technology. They have tours that take about 20 minutes that are a good way to start... But I needed a couple of hours. I would rate as a "Don't Miss"!
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