My family humors me. One time when Hubby and I were visiting one of our grown daughters in Washington D.C. we found ourselves free–no plans for half a day. Hubby and Daughter were in luck, because it was my turn to choose how to fill that extra time. Now, I LOVE visiting D.C. and all of its national treasures, and there are hundreds of fascinating places to go…but of course my first choice was the International Spy Museum. After a few snickers (Mom, the kid) and financial protests (but, but…it’s one of the few museums in D.C. that charges admission), off we went. I was writing a book at the time that deals with Cold War spying in 1950’s Turkey. (That book is tentatively called Dancing with the General and should come out early next year.) My character in question is not a professional spy, but she’s recruited by the baddies to do a small job of spying on her neighbors. She is given some old equipment from the WWII era, and I wanted to see (and play with) examples in the museum of what my character might’ve used. That museum is a gold mine of information. And such fun, too! Visitors get to pretend they’re real spies, experiencing the tools of their trade through some interactive exhibits. Here are just a few fun examples of what you can find there:
- Cameras hidden inside watches, cigarette cases, and buttons.
- Transmitters hidden inside shoe heels.
- Pistols disguised as lipstick.
- Messages hidden inside hollow coins.
- Secret codes and devices like Enigma.
That visit brought out the inner James Bond in all of us. And now we agree: learning about spies is a fun family affair, even if you have to drag half the family there!