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National Cryptologic Museum Opens New Exhibit on Nation's Past Secrets

Release No: PA-115-18 Oct. 11, 2011 PRINT | E-MAIL
FORT MEADE, Md. —

The National Cryptologic Museum (NCM), which reveals many of the nation's most vital secrets in history, the people who created and broke codes, and the tools they used, announces a new Cryptologic Treasures exhibit.

Last year, the NCM introduced the "Cryptologic Treasures" exhibit as a rotating display, meaning the museum would change the artifacts periodically to showcase some of the more unique artifacts in its collection. The new items include:

  • Rare letters between Joseph Rochefort (the hero of the Battle of Midway) and renowned author of The Codebreakers, David Kahn, circa 1964: Correspondence between Kahn and Commander Joseph Rochefort, the U.S Navy hero who was responsible for breaking the Japanese Naval code before Battle of Midway, changing the tide of World War II in the Pacific.
  • Silk Code Scarf: Silk Code Scarves were issued by the Office of Strategic Services (forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency). This particular one was probably carried behind enemy lines in China and France.
  • Cipher device designed by William Friedman: William Friedman, the Father of American Cryptology, invented this device dubbed "Cryptest," a cylindrical type check authentication machine.
  • Deck of cryptologic playing cards: The polyalphabetic substitution cipher on playing cards.
  • Rare set of rotors allegedly from the Battle of the Coral Sea: An inscription found with this artifact reveals a cryptologic mystery as to how the Navy Destroyer, USS Sims, was sunk at the Battle of Coral Sea.

The NCM showcases some of the rarest items in American cryptology, revealing the evolution of code making and code breaking and secrets that changed the course of history. Its research library maintains a collection of unclassified and declassified books and documents relating to every aspect of cryptology and is an excellent resource to students, scholars, and those with an interest in this once secret world.

The museum is located at Routes 295 and 32 adjacent to the Ft. Meade, Md., Army post. For more information on the museum, tours, educational programs, and hours and days of operation, visit NSA.gov.