Exhibit Information

Exhibits and displays at the National Cryptologic Museum are interesting, informative, and many are interactive.

Below you will find links to special pages on our website highlighting various NCM exhibits that have either been added to the Museum or updated. For a full listing of all the current exhibits at the National Cryptologic Museum, visit the NSA website's Museum Exhibit Information Page.

  • This exhibit celebrates the 100th Anniversary of Great Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). The opening panel on the display congratulates GCHQ on its century of service in partnering with the United States' defense and intelligence communities to provide and protect America and the world's most important communications. Click to learn more and see photos.

  • An exhibit inspired by the Foundation's acquisition of three large Soviet missile telemetry processing units provided to the U.S. by Russia as required by the “Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).

  • Check out the latest refresh of the Cryptologic Treasures exhibit - featuring Traffic Analysis as of August 2017. When a cryptographic message can't be solved, traffic analysis can provide valuable details. The new display provides examples of traffic analysis and where analysts find useful information.

  • The May 2017 Service and Sacrifice Exhibit features three sections, LAND, AIR, and SEA, to honor men and women in the Armed Forces who place themselves in harm's way and in some cases pay the ultimate sacrifice to gather adversaries' communications and to secure their own information.

  • The NCM made a major jump forward in time with the new RT-RG (Real Time Regional Gateway) approach to the IED (improvised explosive device) threat in the Al-Qaeda’s bomb making capabilities. Opened in May 2017.

  • In November 2016, the next edition of the "Cryptologic Treasures" exhibit was unveiled - "Necessity to Invention" features some very unique and interesting artifacts.

  • In September 2016, the Enigma exhibit at the NCM received a major facelift. Don't worry, you can still use authentic World War II machines to encrypt and decrypt your own messages!

  • In February 2016, 75 years of US/UK collaboration was celebrated with the opening of a new exhibit. The anniversary celebrated a time when first U.S. cryptologists were permitted to visit their British counterparts at Bletchley Park. The cryptanalysts in Britain had recently built a cryptanalytic Bombe to find the daily keys for the German cipher machine Enigma. The Americans were shown this large machine and, after returning to the U.S., were able to build their own machine, improving on the design. In return, the Americans shared their analog for the Japanese diplomatic cipher known as Purple.

  • In the Summer 2015, the NCM opened a new Information Assurance Exhibit Gallery, complete with an interactive Magic Planet display - sponsored by the NCMF. This gallery highlights the equipment and stories, past and present, that detail how NSA protects written, spoken, military, space, and cyber communications.

  • On 28 April 2015, the NSA National Cryptologic Museum hosted a special ribbon-cutting for the new William F. Friedman: A Life in Cryptology exhibit. The exhibit provides a glimpse of the more than 7,600 documents and other materials related to Friedman's career that were recently released by NSA.

  • The new Native American Code Talker exhibit highlights the World War I Choctaw Code Talkers, as well as the Comanche and Navajos of World War II.

  • "Variations on a Theme" the next edition of the rotating Cryptologic Treasures exhibit. The artifacts show several different, and sometimes odd, modifications made to a small World War II cipher device. None of the modifications were ever adopted.

  • In April 2014, the NCM opened a revised Telemetry Intelligence Exhibit. In 2017, the display became known as the "Anders Telemetry Intelligence" exhibit. ANDERS Station (in Alaska) housed the HARDBALL telemetry data collection system.

  • The NCM's "Revolutionary Secrets" exhibit opened in February 2013 and reveals the stories of cryptology during the American Revolution. America’s independence, hard fought, was achieved with the help of codes, ciphers, invisible ink, visual communications, and hidden messages.

  • In honor of the the NSA's 60th Anniversary, in November 2012, the museum unveiled its "60 Years of Cryptologic Excellence" exhibit. The exhibit features cryptologic artifacts from 1950 thru 2000, such as early computers and punch cards used in the 1950s, keying devices and field computers used in the 60s and 70s, and personal encryption devices (read secure smart phones) from the 2000s.

  • In 1968, the NSA graphics department created a large mosaic of the NSA seal for display in the headquarters lobby. Forty-five years later, when the lobby was renovated, the mosaic came down. The National Cryptologic Museum claimed the seal and cleaned the nooks and crannies of the 20,000+ glass tiles. It now hangs in the museum’s front entrance - the first exhibit visitors see.

  • The National Cryptologic Museum's exhibit, "An Inquisitive Mind: John Nash Letters," features copies of correspondence between Dr. Nash and the National Security Agency (NSA) from the 1950s when he was developing his ideas on an encryption-decryption machine.

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The NCMF strives to acquire rare, interesting, and valuable artifacts for the Museum, as well as publications for the Library.