The Argo Movie and the Spy Museum

The Argo movie, winner of the 2013 Academy Award for Best Picture, stars Ben Affleck. The movie is about the true story of six escapees from the U.S. Embassy in Tehran when it was captured in 1979. These six people, with the help of the Canadian Embassy, created a subterfuge to deceive the revolutionaries and escape. The big ruse?

They’re making a Star Wars–like movie and are scouting suitable exotic locations. Helping create the fake situation was a Hollywood makeup artist who, in the past, created disguises for the CIA. Argo also features actors Alan Arkin and John Goodman.

According to artofmanliness.com, cool spy devices have been developed since the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Apparently, the Greek general Histiaeus wrote a message on the head of his servant, waited for his hair to grow back, and sent him on his way. Other popular ways to secret messages included in the soles of shoes and under bandages. This is the same today in prisons and with terrorists, which is why prison guards and TSA officers take extra time to check shoes, wheelchairs and in the recent past, prosthetic devices.

In later centuries, dignitaries hid messages in barrels of beer and hollowed out bullets.

The kind of devices seen on shows like “Get Smart” and “Batman”, as well as movies like the James Bond series, were made during what’s called “The Golden Age of Espionage,” the Cold War. The Americans is a new show on FX that tells the story of Soviet KGB officers living as Americans in the suburbs, creating sleeper cells.

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Did you ever wonder what the life of a spy is really like? A great place to visit for insight on spy culture is the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC. Though some of the exhibits can get very crowded, you’ll learn about spies past and present, as well as famous double agents. The museum has temporary exhibits that tie in popular culture, such as 007 and Argo. Some of their truly exceptional aspects are the interactive exhibits. There’s an opportunity for those 12 and older to become a “spy” for an hour! You meet others in your mission, visit a fictional developing nation and get in contact with your intelligence agency supervisor. You’ll conduct interrogations, do decryption and even have to evade capture!

D.C. is considered the spy capital of the world, as well as our nation’s capital, with over 10,000 spies. You can take a 2.5 hour interactive bus ride, visiting 25 espionage points of interest with Spy City Tours. You’ll receive background briefings from high-level former intelligence officers including KGB Major General Oleg Kalugin, CIA Operations Officer Peter Earnest, and CIA Chiefs of Disguise Tony and Jonna Mendez.

The museum has teamed up with the luxurious Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa & Marina for a special Spy Weekend on February 23. Cambridge is on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, famous for crabs, seafood, hunting, as well as the birthplace of Harriet Tubman. You can read about Water’s Edge Grill at the Hyatt HERE.

 

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