The CIA's Secret History Museum

By Norman Chan

With a collection of over 6,000 artifacts from America's Intelligence gathering efforts.

In doing some research for Wes's story about the history of women in the CIA, I learned about the CIA's own history museum, located at the clandestine agency's headquarters in Langley, Virginia. The museum, which is not open to the public, was created in 1972--in the height of the cold war--to house items of historical importance and "inform, instruct, and inspire the operational mission" of the CIA. What started out as a 400 square feet space has expanded into a massive gallery twenty times that size, with 600 artifacts on display at any given time from a collection of over 6,000 items. On display are historical objects like Liberator pistols used during underground forces in WWII, forged Hitler stamps, and amazing spy gadgets. Photos of some of the items in the collection can be found on the CIA website, and NBC News was granted special access earlier this year to tour the museum and take photos.