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.......

1862: J.E.B. Stewart began his infamous ride around McClellan's Army of the Potomac

Wednesday, June 12, 2019
1862: J.E.B. Stewart began his infamous ride around McClellan's Army of the Potomac

On 12 June 1862, J.E.B. Stewart began his infamous ride around McClellan's Army of the Potomac. The intelligence he brought to Gen. Lee eventually enabled the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia to dispel the Union Army from the James Peninsula and save Richmond.

Pictured here is an extremely rare artifact, the Confederate Cipher Reel. This cipher reel, one of two known to have survived the war, was captured by Union forces at the surrender of Mobile, Alabama, in May 1865. It bears the penciled notations of Confederate Signal Officer Captain Thomas Hawkins Clagett Jr. of Leesburg, Virginia. It was sent to the Chief Signal Officer in Washington, D.C. and later went to the Signals Intelligence Service, a fore-runner of the National Security Agency and the Army's Intelligence and Security Command.

The Civil War Confederate Cipher Reel used a centuries-old cipher known today as the Vigenere or "court" cipher system wrapped around wooden cylinder. Two adjustable pointers indicated plain and cipher letters. Poor security practices of Confederate users made a potentially sophisticated cipher vulnerable to being read by the Union.

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THIS MONTH on the

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  • Birthday of cryptologic machine designer Edward Hebern. Hebern's five-rotor cipher machine is cryptologically significant as part of the overall evolution in U.S. manufactured rotor devices. The National Cryptologic Museum has two very rare five-rotor Hebern cipher machines in its collection.

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.