It's not classified information, but many visitors to Washington are in the dark about how popular the new International Spy Museum is. The weekend after Thanksgiving, several people were spied expecting to walk in, only to learn that all the weekend slots had sold out -- a week earlier. (To control attendance, the museum sells timed tickets.)
When it opened in summer 2002, the interactive museum, which features the world's largest collection of international espionage artifacts such as concealment devices, sabotage weapons, and cipher machines, along with profiles of famous and infamous spies, fast became one of the capital's most popular destinations. It surpassed by 200,000 its own projection of half a million visitors the first year, said a museum spokeswoman.
Unlike the Smithsonian Institution sites, the Spy Museum is privately operated and is not free.
$13 for adults, $12 for seniors and active duty military or the intelligence community, $10 for children ages 5-18. Buy in advance through Ticketmaster or at the museum, 800 F St. NW, between Ninth and Eighth streets. 202-393-7798, www.spymuseum.org.