The museum’s original location in the Penn Quarter was built and founded by Milton Maltz and The House on F Street, L.L.C. at a cost of approximately US$40 million and opened to the public in 2002. It is one of the few museums in Washington DC that charges admission fees.
In January 2019, the museum began the process of moving to the new US$162 million dedicated building at 700 L’Enfant Plaza, and it reopened to the public on May 12, 2019. The new building includes a 145-seat theater, rooftop terrace and top-floor event space. The move increased the Spy Museum's exhibit space from 19,000 to 32,000 square feet.
More than 750 artifacts are on public display within the 20,000 square feet (1900 m²) of exhibition space, supported with historic photographs, interactive displays, film, and video. The permanent collection traces the complete history of espionage, from the Greek and Roman empires, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the British Empire, the American Revolutionary War, the American Civil War, both World Wars, the Cold War, and through present day espionage activity.
Covers & Legends: Visitors begin their mission by adopting a cover identity and learning why an agent needs one. They are then led into the Briefing Room to be introduced to the real world of espionage.
School for Spies: This section provides an introduction to the tradecraft of espionage and describes many of the skills and tools essential to a spy.
The Secret History of History: This series of galleries chronicles the history of spying from biblical times to the early 20th century. It explores such phenomena as the institutionalization of spying in the early years of the Soviet Union and traces the rise of espionage technology, such as spy photography.
Spies Among Us: These exhibits, films, and videos examine espionage through World War II, showcasing real-life spy stories.
The 21st Century: The challenges facing intelligence professionals worldwide in the 21st Century are addressed in the film Ground Truth.
According to en.wikipedia.