I crawled through an air duct to escape the high-security prison in Ankara, Turkey. The guards were in pursuit. I tried disappearing into the shadows and making my way through the crowds. At last, I was able to make it through the International Spy Museum in Washington.
I took on the alias of Colin Walker, an 18-year-old art student from England, when I visited the spy museum this weekend. It is an interactive museum that had me thinking twice about every object on display.
Cameras, audio transmitters, trackers and weapons were disguised in everyday objects. An umbrella could turn into a rifle, a coat was a camera and a pen turned into a dagger. The most fascinating disguise was what I thought was dog feces, but it wasn’t. It was actually an audio transmitter. Very clever – no one would touch it. If someone were to step on it, well, I don’t know who it would be more unfortunate for, the spy or the person who got poop on his or her shoe.
Pigeons were also used in the spy profession as messengers and flying cameras. They were given names and medals, which I find impressive. I usually think of pigeons as useless birds that poop on everything. Nobody likes pigeons. However, looking at the aerial photography they took, it changed my perspective for a moment.
Some museum exhibits tell stories that that date to 1446. It was interesting to see how the act of espionage changed throughout the centuries. The most interesting, however, was the 20th century, when all the clever gadgets like those we see in James Bond or Mission Impossible movies were used.
A James Bond exhibit featured the 50 years of Bond movie villains.
Another part of that exhibit simulated the experience of hanging on the edge of a building or an airplane in flight. As I held onto the bar, wind blew in my face. The goal was to last for a minute. I lasted 24 seconds, but that is because my ring was bothering me and my hands were really sweaty. I swear I could have lasted the minute.
With all the suspenseful music playing in the background, the high-tech devices on display, the interactive spy challenges and the fake name, I came out of the museum feeling like a spy. I now want to write everything in code, throw pigeons off the office balcony to send my messages and crawl through air ducts to get in and out of buildings. Then again, it’s the 21st century. We have iPhones. No need for secret ink on paper.