CIA Museum Unveils Newly Renovated OSS Gallery
The CIA Museum recently opened a completely redesigned gallery featuring the Agency’s forerunner, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). To celebrate the opening, former members of the OSS, their families, and invited guests received a private tour of the new OSS Gallery. The sights and sounds of the new displays brought back many fond memories as some 130 attendees reminisced about OSS and their World War II experiences.
Renovated from top to bottom, the new gallery features stunning graphics, never-before-displayed pictures taken by OSS officers in the field, and a representational aircraft fuselage where crew and passengers sat during flight. Various multimedia elements help bring that time period back to life, including audio clips of OSS officers recalling their service, archival videos of training, and an interactive display featuring the world of OSS Director William J. “Wild Bill” Donovan.
Legacy of the OSS
President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the OSS in 1942 to help fight World War II. The small organization, never more than 13,000 strong, carried out intelligence activities and enjoyed a fair degree of independence. OSS case officers, paramilitary officers, analysts, scientists, and support officers operated in North Africa, Europe, and Asia. The OSS’s relationship with the President, along with the organization’s independence and multidisciplinary character, established a valuable organizational precedent for its successor—the CIA.
The OSS trained many of the leaders and personnel who later formed the CIA, including four future CIA directors—Allen Dulles, Richard Helms, William Colby, and William Casey. In addition, the US military’s Special Operations community regards the OSS as its ancestor in spirit and deed.
The OSS alumni are members of an elite group of remarkable people, most in their 80s and 90s. Guests at the gallery opening included former OSS officers who donated their time, photos and artifacts to the new gallery, as well as General Donovan’s secretary at the Nuremberg Trials.
Related Stories and Links: