The CIA Museum supports the Agency's operational, recruitment and training missions and helps visitors better understand CIA and its contributions to national security.
- The Museum's staff works with Presidential libraries and other major museums and institutions for display in public exhibitions.
- These collaborations help promote a wider understanding of the craft of intelligence and its role in the American experience.
History of the Museum
In 1972, William E. Colby, then the Executive Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, suggested the creation of an Agency museum. He directed the Agency's components and its Fine Arts Commission to identify items of historical significance to create "a very selective accumulation of truly unique items."
When CIA added another building to the Headquarters campus in the 1980s, it included a space for the museum and established the office of the Curator.
Since Colby's first call, Agency offices and officers have responded enthusiastically and offered a large number of artifacts, many from personal collections built up over long careers and from distant places.
From its modest beginning, the CIA Museum is now the preeminent national archive for the collection, preservation, documentation and exhibition of intelligence artifacts, culture, and history.
What's in the Collection?
The CIA Museum's collection includes artifacts associated with the CIA's predecessor, the Office of Strategic Services; foreign intelligence organizations; and the CIA itself.
The collection includes clothing, equipment, weapons, insignia and other memorabilia that serve as tangible testimony to the Agency's history. Many of the objects the Museum holds were designed, manufactured and used specifically for intelligence operations.
All artifacts displayed in the museum's exhibits have been declassified by the appropriate Agency officials. Please note that because the Museum is located on the CIA compound, it is not open to the public for tours.