The world of espionage, a fashionable word these days in the United States, is available to curious New Yorkers to know more details of its mysteries, when visiting Spyscape, the new museum dedicated to this old craft.
Those with the soul of James Bond will know at the end of their visit if “their abilities” qualify them to be a good agent, after facing various challenges, among them “freeing” a spy caught during a mission, for which he will have to send and receive coded messages.
The success of the mission will depend on these messages and their speed. For this whole experience, the visitor with the soul of an agent will receive a bracelet with a microchip to give him access to his challenges.
You can also have fun avoiding laser beams to measure agility and skill, but, above all, know stories, characters and gadgets used by spies over the years as hollow shaving brushes inside to house messages or weapons, equipment to listen to conversations or small surveillance cameras.
In an espionage museum, the first of its kind in New York, sections dedicated to cyber attacks could not be missing, among which the teenager who pirated the personal mail of the then director of the CIA, John Brennan, and the Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson.
Also present are the group of hackers Anonymous or Edward Snowden, the former CIA employee who became one of the most wanted men after leaking secret documents from the United States Government.
Just a few steps away from the MoMa, the dark-walled interactive Spyscape with seven galleries, each dedicated to a facet of espionage, begins the journey with World War II to show how the work of decoding messages from the Germans helped the forces allies to defeat Hitler.
There the visitor will know the story of the mathematician Alan Turing -and a drawing of him whose eyes flicker-, considered one of the fathers of computer science and the forerunner of modern computing, who during World War II worked on deciphering or decrypting “Nazi secret codes, sent by the German Navy through the Enigma machine.
Using modern technology, the way in which the messages were sent and decoded is illustrated, and a replica of “La bombe”, the machine invented by Turing and his colleagues to decipher Enigma’s codes and allow the allies to anticipate the Nazi military movements and attacks.
In the Spyscape, designed by the study of the British architect David Adjaye, who was also in charge of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC, it also shows the history of counterespionage agents who worked for two governments.
This is the case of the American Robert Hanssen (1944), agent of the FBI who was assigned the task of investigating who was that “traitor” who also worked for the Russian Government, which in reality was himself.
The work of the press is also recognized in the gallery dedicated to surveillance, which exposes the case of Snowden.
They also dedicate a section to Virginia Hall, considered one of the most important women spies of World War II, and the work she did for allied countries despite the fact that she was missing a leg and was using a prosthesis.
Hall, whose story will reach the cinema directed by J.J. Abrams, had tried to join the ranks of the US Foreign Service. before the Second World War, but was rejected because of its gender and disability and was finally recruited by British intelligence.
At the end of the tour, visitors will have received tips to protect their privacy and spy, of course. (efeusa)