The International Spy Museum is set to move from its former location in Penn Quarter to L’Enfant Plaza in May to accommodate recently acquired artifacts as well as updated intelligence technology.
The museum’s previous location closed Jan. 1. L’Enfant Plaza will most likely become the museum’s permanent location, according to Aliza Bran, public relations and marketing coordinator for the museum. The new location is expected to receive around 700,000 visitors this upcoming year, an uptick of 100,000 visitors from last year’s estimates, according to the Washington Business Journal. The new location is planned to open May 11.
These artifacts will join the museum’s collection of intelligence technology and memorabilia. Additions to the collection include a piece of the Berlin Wall and displays of updated cyber-technology systems, according to an Oct. 3 news release. The new location is also slated to feature an additional educational room and a larger event hall than the previous location.
Along with receiving physical upgrades, the museum also plans to revamp internal infrastructure to approach the topic of intelligence with more depth, according to Bran.
“We will be able to take on the topic of intelligence in a bit more of a holistic way, looking at the intelligence process and how that works,” Bran said in an interview with The Hoya. “We get to talk about analysis, what analysts do. That’s of course a big part of the intelligence process, and we didn’t really have the space to get into it in our last home.”
The museum intends to restructure current exhibits to create a better flow between the permanent exhibits. The larger space will allow the museum to rotate temporary exhibits more frequently to cover a wider range of intelligence topics, according to Bran.
In addition to the exhibit space, the museum also plans to offer new and updated versions of educational programs and workshops for varying ages. Topics for these educational programs include a look at revolutionary war spies and their contribution to American victory in the war, according to Bran. The workshops are expected to be a continuation of the programs from the previous location where various skills, such as how to create invisible ink, were taught to visitors.
With the new space, the Spy Museum is also undertaking new programs that were unavailable at its former location. Initiatives include a new volunteer program that allows students to work directly with the museum and get involved with former intelligence officials and officers who now work at the museum. A volunteer open house is currently set to be held Feb. 27, according to the museum’s website.
The museum also plans to revitalize its summer camp program for children in the summer of 2020, as the process of moving the museum forced the museum to stop the camp for the first time since its creation, according to Bran.
The Spy Museum previously served as a resource to bring new investment into the Penn Quarter, according to Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D).
“The District of Columbia is very pleased to bring an expanded Spy Museum to L’Enfant Plaza- permanently,” Bowser said in a 2016 news release. “We are fortunate to be able to retain this important resource that was such a catalyst for new investment in Penn Quarter.”
News of the museum’s turnover comes after the recent announcement that the Newseum, another paid museum in D.C., was searching for a new home after Johns Hopkins bought the museum’s former building.