The International Spy Museum (SPY), a nonprofit museum in Washington, DC, completed a full revamp of its “Spying Launched a Nation” exhibit, showcasing one of the treasures of the Museum’s collection and the iconic story of the Culper Spy Ring, the first American spy network. Made possible by a generous grant from the Verstandig Family Foundation, SPY’s newly reimagined exhibit now boasts a fully immersive space with projections on the walls and floor as well as OLED monitors that allow the characters of George Washington and the Culper Spy Ring to come alive in hologram like imagery. The experience is narrated by the charismatic and inimitable Chris Jackson, best known for his role as George Washington in the original cast of the Broadway musical, Hamilton.
A priceless 1777 letter written by George Washington authorizing America’s first official effort at espionage is the centerpiece of this unique experience. The resulting innovative intelligence work was instrumental in winning the Revolutionary War against the British forces. Using the Culper Spy Ring as a quintessential example of how intelligence work can change the trajectory of international affairs, a new “Why Spy?” video incorporates stories ripped from the headlines that show examples of the importance of credible intelligence in our modern world.
“At the Spy Museum we are constantly looking at new and inventive ways to bring the history of espionage to life,” shares Christopher Costa, executive director at the International Spy Museum. “With the support of the Verstandig Family Foundation, we have installed state-of-the-art technology that allows people to step directly into this iconic 250-year-old story of Revolutionary War intelligence. Face-to-face with the letter written by George Washington, visitors will see the birth of the Culper Spy Ring – a group responsible in part, through the intelligence it gathered, for the country we live in today.”
The Verstandig Family Foundation is known for its philanthropic work and successful private-public partnerships that accelerate innovation, shape policy, and drive change at a local, national, and global level, with a particular emphasis on projects in their five core policy areas: national security, healthcare, education and entrepreneurship, veteran health, and animal welfare.
“I am honored to support the unveiling of the Culper Spy Ring exhibit at the International Spy Museum. This exhibit not only commemorates the intelligence successes of America’s first president and spymaster, George Washington, but also sheds light on the innovative use of spies and espionage during the Revolution,” said Grant Verstandig. “I hope this exhibit will not only educate and inspire visitors about the history of espionage, but will also underscore the enduring significance of intelligence work in shaping our nation’s history and global landscape.”