Date Thesis Awarded

5-2015

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

American Studies

Advisor

Alan Braddock

Committee Member

Frederick Corney

Committee Member

Charlie McGovern

Abstract

The International Spy Museum, located in Washington D.C., proudly boasts being the only museum dedicated to espionage in the United States, as well as the only museum worldwide dedicated to an international perspective on spying. The institution’s mission is to educate the public on the role of spies in current and historic world events in an unbiased manner. However, the museum does not accomplish these goals. My thesis argues that the glamorization of espionage in the International Spy Museum is counter productive to the institution’s pedagogical mission because it inhibits learning, and instead of advancing knowledge regarding espionage, it reinforces widespread myths about the profession. This argument is based off of three main aspects concerning the presentation of the museum, the museum’s aesthetics, the content of the museum’s exhibits, and the audience’s interaction with said exhibits.