New “Audio Guide Service” at the National Cryptologic Museum

The National Cryptologic Museum is at the forefront of preserving the US cryptologic heritage and has been working hard to get its message out to the public. I was therefore pleasantly surprised to hear that the Museum recently installed a new cell phone “Audio Guide Service” (you can see the press release on the NSA/CSS web site).

The Cell Phone Audio Guide Service is meant to be used by visitors to the National Cryptologic Museum. Many of the exhibits in the museum have an item number associated with the exhibit. If you have a cell phone, you can call up a service number, enter the item number, and get a two minute explanation of the exhibit.

Although I live in Israel, I do have access to a VOIP phone, so I dialed the number in the press release and got the recording. The problem was I didn’t know what item numbers to input when prompted. An e-mail to the Museum requesting a list of item numbers was promptly answered within the hour by Patrick Weadon, the museum’s curator. The item list (which you can download from here) contains the following topics:

  • Welcome
  • Introduction
  • History
  • The Civil War
  • The Zimmerman Telegram
  • The Black Chamber
  • Pre WWII
  • Enigma
  • Purple
  • WWII and the Pacific
  • SIGABA
  • Cold War Espionage
  • Secure Voice
  • Electronic Secure Voice
  • The Weak Link — People
  • Technology
  • Airborne Reconnaissance
  • Women in Cryptology
  • Special Recognition

Each of the topic listed has numerous sub-topics, so be sure to check out the item list.

It was a pleasure listening to excellent explanations about cryptologic and cryptanalytic topics where the terminology is correct and exact (e.g., no messing up the terms ‘code’ and ‘cipher’, getting their facts correct).

If you’re planning a visit to the National Cryptologic Museum you might want to wait until you’re there to use this service. If not, it’s a cinch to call them up and get accurate and informative explanation on some fascinating cryptologic heritage.

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