The National Cryptologic Museum, Annapolis Junction, Maryland

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By John Cowgill

You may have seen the signs for the National Cryptologic Museum while driving on the Baltimore Washington Parkway on your way to Baltimore or to BWI Airport. If you have a little time, you should visit the museum.

The National Cryptologic Museum is a display of equipment used by the National Security Agency to protect America’s secrets and to expose the secrets of America’s enemies.  On display is the first equipment used during the Cold War to World War II, including the equipment used for the Native American code talkers during the battles in World War II.  From what looks like a simple manual typewriter to what looks like your early desktop computer, this is how the National Security Agency, along with the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines, defended the nation from attack.  There is also a library and a Memorial Hall that remembers and honors those who lost their lives defending the nation, to include the story of the U.S.S. Liberty.

Control panel

The National Cryptologic Museum is located at 8290 Colony Severn Road in Annapolis Junction, Maryland.  It is just off of the Baltimore Washington Parkway and Maryland Route 32 and minutes from U.S. Route 1 and Interstate 95.  (Please note that the museum is next to NSA property, which has tight security.  Please follow the signs to the museum and do not stop on the road between Route 32 and the museum.)  The museum is open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is closed on Sunday and federal holidays.  Admission is free.  Parking is on site.  The museum is all on one floor, making it easy for those in wheelchairs.  More information is available here.

Next time you are on your way to the airport or to Baltimore or points north by way of the Baltimore Washington Parkway and see the signs to the National Cryptologic Museum, check it out.  Once your visit is complete, you will know what the museum is all about.

Early supercomputer

John Cowgill frequently writes about regional attractions for Prince William Living.

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