When the National Cyptologic Museum (NCM) requested assistance from the National Cryptologic Museum Foundation (NCMF) in developing a kiosk and cryptologic oriented software games for young adults, the NCMF agreed to look into the challenge.
After some investigation, the NCMF met with Nisus Technologies, a local Fort Meade small business engaged with support to the Intelligence Community, and its President, Joe Sperber, indicated he knew just the group to help develop game games of a cryptologic nature based on some guidance from the NCMF staff, Jennifer Wilcox.
Nisus provided contact with an associated company, Benxing Entertainment, which specialized in web-based games for young adults. Benxing’s President, Tom Phillips accepted the challenge at no cost and provided two new generation games designed for the kiosks at the NCM. NCM provided the objective of the cryptologic nature of the games, Benxing provided the software games and Nisus provided the integration of the software and hardware at no cost, and the NCMF provided the kiosks.
The two games,"Cipher Express" and "Cryptogram" introduce players, young and old, to the basic concepts of cryptology. "Cipher Express" allows players to try different methods of encryption using a futuristic train. "Cryptogram" allows the player to decipher a variety of different quotes. It also gives parents of younger children a chance to interact as they work together on the breaking the ciphers. Both games have been well received, particularly by teenagers who like testing their skills on technology they're familiar with.
Many thanks are due to Benxing, including Thomas Phillips, Steve Rixie, Eric Krokos, Tom Truong, Jenny Son, Helen Zhang and Doug Newhouse, and Nisus, including Joe Sperber, Aldo Micheli, and Elliot Scott and Kevin Glinecki.
Visit the museum and play these exciting cryptologic games!
The NCMF was advised in 2008 that the NCM's student outreach program was in danger of being discontinued because of insufficient funds to support contests conducted during their visits. The NCMF is now donating supplies to the NCM in order to insure this worthy program continues
Pictured below is a group of school children that are sitting in front of one of NSA's Crypto-Kids stations at the museum. They are solving one of the crypto puzzles using the cipher wheel. It is part of the museum's educational Treasure Hunt. Once completed they receive logo pencils, puzzles, frisbees and crypto activity books as awards. Most of the awards are funded by the Foundation as part of our student outreach program.
The National Cryptologic Museum has been described in the media as one of the most unique museums in the United States. Each year over 100,000 visitors tour the museum to learn about cryptologic history from the Renaissance era to the present. Many of these visitors are attracted to the museum by the Foundation's ambitious three-part advertising program.
-In coordination with the museum, the Foundation produces an eight-panel color brochure that highlights the museum's many priceless exhibits and collections and the free admission and guided tours that make it a popular destination for families, school trips and tour groups.
-The brochure program supports both commercial and museum requirements. The Foundation contracts a professional distribution service to keep display racks supplied with brochures at 120 locations in Maryland including Maryland Visitor Centers, hotels and government offices in the Baltimore-Washington Corridor and Baltimore and Annapolis attractions. The brochure is also available to visitors in the museum lobby and is used in Foundation membership campaigns.
-The third phase of the Foundation advertising program is the publication and distribution of table tents. These are attractive bi-fold postcards advertising the museum and upcoming cryptologic events sponsored by the Foundation. A team of volunteers distributes the table tents to NSA cafeterias, lobbies of corporate offices, schools, libraries and coffeehouses in the Baltimore-Washington corridor.
Every year the Foundation sponsors a $350-$500 award for the Maryland History Day Competition conducted throughout Maryland Middle and High Schools. In order to qualify for the Foundation award, the student must submit a substantive paper in the field of cryptology. The submission can be in written, oral, or play format and is subsequently judged by a panel of business and academic professionals that includes a Foundation representative. Thus far three students have been selected for the Foundation award.
- Last Updated - 5/20/2013
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