Lonely Planet Writer

Enter the world of espionage with this New York museum

An exciting new museum experience is opening in New York City this week; an interactive spy museum that allows you to hone and test your own spying skills.

Test your powers of observation in the surveillance gallery. Photo by Scott Frances for Spyscape

Spyscape will open 16 February and is devoted to the art of espionage in all its different forms, from codebreakers to investigative journalists. When you enter the museum, you can start your own spy challenge and see whether you’d be suited to surveillance, deception, encryption or special ops.

Enter the interrogation booth to see how well you can lie, use ciphers to send and receive coded message, dodge lasers and make split-second decisions to find out if your reaction times are up to scratch or see how your observation skills measure up.

Think you can dodge these lasers? Photo by Scott Frances for Spyscape

Your activities will be monitored and the results will be measured against a custom profiling system designed by the former head of training for British Intelligence and you’ll find out what kind of espionage you’re best suited to. There will be also be galleries examining branches such as hacking, intelligence operations and deception.

Visitors can hear lots of real-life spy stories from the Enigma code-breakers to the teenager who hacked the CIA’s website, all told through immersive multi-media and a range of rare, historical artefacts, many of which will be on display for the first time. The museum says it aims to present the history as neutrally as possible, encouraging visitors to question it and draw their own conclusions.

The spy museum will also cover the history of espionage. Photo by Scott Frances for Spyscape

Spyscape has taken on a team of expert advisors to create as useful and authentic experience as possible, including directors of international intelligence agencies. They’re assisted by the architects behind the project, Adjaye Associates, who also designed the acclaimed Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Tickets can be purchased in advance online and admission is $39 for an adult, with discounts available for children 12 and under, and US military and law enforcement members. Spyscape is open seven days a week from 10am to 8pm.

This article was originally published 17 October 2017 and was updated 15 February 2018.