FOR MORE THAN 30 YEARS, the CIA Museum has been one of the most mysterious collections of artifacts in the world. Housed in the George Bush Center for Intelligence in Langley, Virginia—one of the most secure buildings in the United States—the museum tells the story of the government’s clandestine undertakings from the Cold War through the CIA’s mission in May 2011 to kill Osama bin Laden to today. It has had an exclusive audience: only CIA officers and approved officials have been allowed to view the collection—until now.
No, Langley hasn’t swung open its doors. Instead, as part of a recent renovation of the museum, curators have begun to digitize the 3,500 objects in the museum collection. To date, there are 217 online including a German enigma machine used during World War II to develop codes, a Glomar Explorer bunk card, which told the crew of the search vessel what to do in an emergency, and a CIA 25th Anniversary program, the milestone anniversary that led to the creation of the museum, all of which you would see in in person if you were among the few to get an invitation.