Welcome to the National Cryptologic Museum Foundation. The NCMF directly supports the National Cryptologic Museum (NCM), the first public museum in the U.S. Intelligence Community.

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Polish mathematicians & code breakers made the first breakthroughs against Nazi Germany's Enigma code.......

The International Spy Museum's Blog Explores African-Americans in Espionage

The International Spy Museum's Blog Explores African-Americans in Espionage

From the International Spy Museum Blog:

Unsung Heroes: – SPY Celebrates African-Americans in Espionage
by Agent Double A

In honor of Black History month, SPY profiles extraordinary clandestine African American men and women throughout history. These unsung heroes have been active agents in the defense of American freedom on the frontlines and behind the scenes of every American military conflict. While the nature of their efforts required a cloak of secrecy, their stories are numbered and varied. What is shared is their collective courage, loyalty, and opposition to tyranny.

First in the spotlight is Mary Elizabeth Bowser - pictured here.

Mary Elizabeth Bowser (1839 – ?), was part of a Union spy ring known as “the Richmond underground”, directed by Elizabeth Van Lew, whose family was well respected and well connected socially in Richmond. Bowser had been a slave of the Van Lew family, but Van Lew freed her and sent her North to be educated. When Van Lew decided to establish a spy ring in Richmond shortly before the fighting began, she asked Bowser to return and work with her for the Union. Van Lew obtained a position for Bowser as a servant in the Confederate “White House” through the recommendation of a friend who provided supplies to that household. Bowser pretended to be uneducated but hardworking and, after working part-time at several functions, was hired as a regular employee. Her access provided her with opportunities to overhear valuable information. As a Black woman – and a servant at that – she was ignored by the President’s guests. Bowser had a photographic memory and could report every word of the documents she saw at the “White House”. In recognition of her intelligence contributions, Bowser was inducted into the US Army Intelligence Hall of Fame at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, on June 30, 1995.

Learn about more of these African American spy heroes on the SPY blog.

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  • DoD Directive established DEFSMAC (Defense Special Missile and Astronautics Center). It was renamed in 2002 changing “Astronautics” to “Aerospace.” DEFSMAC is a joint NSA-DIA-NGA organization headquartered at NSA. Its mission is to coordinate the collection of intelligence information from foreign missiles and satellites.

About Us

The NCMF directly supports the National Cryptologic Museum (NCM), the first public museum in the U.S. Intelligence Community. We think you will agree it is truly a "museum like no other."

Located adjacent to the National Security Agency (NSA) in Maryland, the NCM houses a priceless collection of artifacts that represent our Nation's history in code making and code breaking, as well as a world class library of cryptologic media. The NCMF acquires the best artifacts for the NCM and supports new educational and interactive exhibits.

The NCMF provides exceptional cryptologic programs throughout the year, encourages young minds to explore cryptology and innovation through valued awards, and hosts educational, cryptology-related exhibits at various community events.

As part of the Foundation's partnership with NSA to build the Cyber Center for Education and Innovation - Home of the National Cryptologic Museum (CCEI-NCM), the NCMF also serves as a leader in the field of cybersecurity - striving to provide the best in educational resources and programs.

The NCMF and NCM share a joint three-fold mission to Educate, Stimulate, and Commemorate. Learn more about our MISSION.