Editor’s Note: During this period of social distancing, Student Group Tour magazine will continue to provide ideas for planning educational travel. Many attractions and destinations are closed at this time; please contact them directly for updated information.
Code names, secret agents, classified information, CIA, MI-6 — New York City’s newest museum, SPYSCAPE, immerses visitors in the world of espionage.
“SPYSCAPE is a new kind of destination,” said Ian Oldaker, general manager. “Visitors are not just informed, they are entertained. It is an interactive experience where visitors get to try their hand at real spy challenges.”
To learn about this world and if they could survive in it, students go “undercover.” Galleries highlight history like the Cuban Missile Crisis or Alan Turing and the Enigma Machine. Exhibits include displays of devices used to conceal, communicate or acquire information. Students then swipe their identification band and complete challenges related to each gallery.
Whether writing in code or deciphering them, spies use a secret language. The Encryption Gallery tells the story of codes and allows visitors to test their code-making and code-breaking skills in the Encryption Challenge.
Students also learn about the most damaging spy in FBI history who sold secrets to foreign powers for two decades. The Deception Challenge places visitors in an interrogation booth to put their lying and lie detection skills to the test.
What does personal surveillance look and feel like? Is there a balance between security, service, and freedom from governments and the corporate world? The Surveillance Challenge immerses students in a 360-degree dome of CCT feeds, where they test their powers of observation.
Perhaps the most exciting challenge is the laser tunnel in the Special Ops Challenge vault.
“Visitors test their strategy and agility as they go through a laser tunnel hitting as many lit buttons as they can while evading lasers.” Oldaker said.
Before leaving SPYSCAPE, students get the chance to discover their inner spy.
“Based on visitors results in the different challenges, they are assigned one of 10 spy roles from Analyst to Spymaster.” Oldaker said. “Students leave with new knowledge about themselves: their skills, characteristics and personality traits and how those could be used in the world of espionage.”
For more information, call 212-549-1941 or visit spyscape.com/groups.
Article by Michael McLaughlin