Exhibit Information

Enigma exhibit at National Cryptologic Museum
Students use Enigma machine

In this photo from Twitter, students from Gettysburg instructor Darren Glass's Crypto class experiment with the Enigma machine.

One of the museum's most popular exhibits, the Enigma, recently received a major face-lift (Sept 2016) with new display cases and informative placards about the development and genius design behind this "unbreakable" machine.

The Enigma exhibit features the history and development of several versions of the once thought unbreakable Enigma machine.

What makes this exhibit most unique, however, is that it includes authentic World War II Enigma machines that visitors can use to encrypt and decrypt their own messages. Come try them out!

From the NSA's website: "The Enigma became the workhorse of the German military services, used to encrypt tens of thousands of tactical messages throughout World War II. The number of mathematical permutations for every keystroke is astronomical. Allied forces were able to read most of the Enigma encrypted messages throughout most of the war as a result of the tireless effort of many Allied cryptologists. It is an electromechanical machine that used a combination of wired rotors and plugs to change each letter as it is typed. Today, many historians believe that the Allies' ability to read the Enigma-enciphered messages and act on that information shortened the war by as many as two years, saving thousands of Allied and Axis lives."