Nsa thursday fun

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The journey to the event began some fifty years earlier during World War II. As the combat war intensified, so, too, did the intelligence war. Captured Axis cryptographic equipment and materiel were examined and reverse engineered by the Army and Navy al security services.

Nsa thursday fun

The RDM holdings included cryptographic devices from the 19 th and early 20 th centuries, as well as Allied and captured Axis materiel. Legendary cryptologic pioneers William F. Friedman and Lambros Callimahos each had an abiding interest in cryptologic history and the RDM collection.

Nsa thursday fun

Callimahos even had a small "museum" next to his office at NSA that he enjoyed showing to privileged visitors. Thanks in part to their efforts, the collection was kept intact well into the late s when Earl J. Beginning in the late s and throughout the s, Coates began deing and placing exhibits in the lobby of the headquarters building. The success of the exhibits served to push Coates toward the ultimate goal of developing a true museum for NSA. In addition to helping with the exhibit story line, Coates loaned the Smithsonian early 20 th century and World War II cipher machines used by the Allied and Axis powers.

The exhibit marked the first time NSA had ventured into the public arena. InCoates loaned what is thought to be the last surviving U. Gaddy shared Coates' desire to open a museum within the Agency combining classified and unclassified exhibits for the education and enjoyment of NSA employees and distinguished visitors.

Nsa thursday fun

Although the CCH flourished under Gaddy, due to operational needs no suitable space could be located for a museum within the NSA complex. Then a fortuitous event occurred. The motel consisted of a one-story office, restaurant, and dinner theater building; and four two-story lodging facilities. Admiral Studeman then made another key contribution when, during a speech to the Baltimore-Washington Corridor Chamber of Commerce in Junehe made off-the-cuff remarks about the possibility of using Colony 7 as a museum.

The audience, composed of state and county officials and business leaders, was excited by this idea. The Chamber followed up with a letter pointing out the advantages of a museum and promising support. The public surfacing of the concept obliged NSA leadership to take it seriously.

Nsa thursday fun

David Gaddy persisted in arguing its importance to NSA. In his view, the museum would not be simply a display of "ancient history," but one that served the educational needs of the day, and presented "an idea of the challenges for the future. On 4 Septemberthe Senior Facilities Council accepted a series of goals in regard to a museum at the Colony 7 facility. A working group was charged with ironing out the details of funding, staffing, access, operation, and parking. Since the Colony 7 complex would not be secured for storage of classified material, the museum would have to be unclassified.

It was a short step from that concept to accepting the idea that the public could and should be admitted. The museum would be located in what had formerly been the restaurant area of the large one-story building. The rest of the building would be configured into four large classrooms for unclassified courses and meetings.

Renovations of the building were to begin in the fall of and would not be completed until the spring of In the late summer ofJerry Coates moved into an old motel room set up as an office in one of the two-story buildings near the "museum building" to begin planning exhibits for the museum, but he would need help.

When David Gaddy asked him whom he would like as his assistant, Coates asked that I be offered the position of assistant curator. A lifelong history buff with graphic arts experience, I was at the time ased as a senior instructor in the National Cryptologic School NCS. I had gained a good reputation through my lectures in cryptologic history and other subjects to NCS classes and elsewhere, but I was ready for a change and a new challenge.

Gaddy offered me the position in Augustexplaining that the Office of the Secretary of Defense had endorsed the museum. I readily accepted his offer, ed the CCH, and moved into the converted office with Coates in November For about eighteen months, while the building's interior was gutted and reconfigured, Jerry and I made plans and dreamed dreams about what to include in our new museum.

One burning question was what to name the museum. Several unacceptable suggestions were received, including "Codes R Us. Since no one objected, Coates and I just used the name and it stuck. Our task was a daunting one. We were to build a museum without a procurement budget.

Other than our salaries and facility support, we really had no funding. The graphics support would come from the main NSA Graphics Department at no cost to us; however, we needed exhibit cases in order to both display and protect our artifacts.

Nsa thursday fun

Fortunately, Jerry made a phone call to a friend at the Smithsonian at just the right time. The Museum of African Art had some used exhibit cases to give away, and we were the first to ask for them. All we had to do was select the ones we wanted we took them all and move them ourselves, which we managed to do in fairly short order.

After some minor repairs, the cases were ready, and we were all set to begin deing and installing exhibits. Arthur Green and Douglas Parks proved to be masters of their trade, and the four of us made rapid progress in turning our ideas into reality. The exhibits were fabricated on sheets of plywood supported by sawhorses set up in what had been the motel kitchen.

Occasionally globs of grease would fall out of the old exhaust fans and onto our work in progress. While the four of us deed, fabricated, and put in exhibits, another man cleaned and restored the old cipher machines we were going to display. His name was Joel Atwood, and he was a gem. Joel had many years of experience restoring old toy trains and building model railro. He managed to keep one step ahead of us during the three months it took to complete the initial exhibits. Joel stayed on as part of the NCM staff until his retirement in January The National Cryptologic Museum opened on 13 July Initially the museum was open only to NSA employees and their families as well as other members of the intelligence community.

This gave us time to get used to giving small tours and answering questions from employee family members, which would of course be much the same as the ones we would later get from the general public.

Nsa thursday fun

We also used the first few months to fine-tune our exhibits. Finally, on 17 December the museum opened its doors to the general public. By that I mean we were now open to virtually anyone from anywhere. A small reception was held that evening with some Baltimore-Washington Corridor Chamber of Commerce, Fort Meade, and Smithsonian officials in attendance.

There was no press release on the event; therefore, the public did not really know we were open. That would change with the opening of the NCM, and sooner than anyone would have thought. Post staff writer Ken Ringle had learned about the museum from David Kahn, author of the groundbreaking book The Codebreakers. It filled the entire bottom half of the front. The article included a photograph of the curator, Jerry Coates, looking much like a college professor, standing next to a WWII cipher machine.

Ringle's article was complimentary while poking some fun at us at the same time.

Nsa thursday fun

In his last paragraph he wrote, "Some at NSA say you can reach [the museum] at Others at NSA deny that exists. The word was out! The tempo picked up quickly with visitors beginning to walk in and people calling to schedule tours. We were definitely open, and a big change was just around the corner.

This had been the plan all along, but the timing was about a year sooner than I had expected. Nevertheless, I was in the hot seat, and it was getting warmer every day. Jerry and I always knew the museum would be a success, but we did not anticipate how quickly that success would come about. Over the first six months, we had several thousand visitors, and I personally gave dozens of tours, with David Hatch, the new chief of the CCH, lending a hand when needed. Our first scheduled public tour was for the "Sisters in Crime," a club for local mystery writers.

They were a lot of fun and gave me a great coffee cup in appreciation for the tour. Larry was a militaria and equipment expert and a good armchair historian. John helped by taking on many of the public tours and other time-consuming functions of NCM operations. With authorization from DoD, in the spring and summer ofI began to draw in retired NSA personnel as museum volunteers. The volunteers provide tours for our visitors, assist in the NCM library, and help organize and catalog our ever-growing collection.

Some of the volunteers are former coworkers and friends while others are people who answered our plea for help. The volunteer program has been critical to the success of the museum. We also began to develop a more aggressive loan program during this period. Federal and private museums often need cryptologic items for short- and long-term loan.

Nsa thursday fun

email: [email protected] - phone:(128) 530-8482 x 9274

National Security Agency