Friday, November 22, 2013

Cryptologic Museum

model trains and houses showing hobo codes

 This was an amazing museum! And FREE!
Seriously, if you live nearby, go!

The Cryptologic Museum is a museum about codes and ciphers: encoding, decoding, and all manner of secret writing.

It's arranged so that you travel through time, starting with the (relatively) simple ciphers of the Revolutionary War.

Actually, they have a copy of the Rosetta stone in the lobby, so I guess it starts earlier than that!

 They also showed the flag codes, code books and cipher wheels used in the Civil War.  The kids got to write things in all these codes and ciphers.  They even got to use invisible ink made from baking soda and water, revealed with purple grape juice.

A major favorite was the Enigma machines!  We got to encode and decode our names on the two machines for public use.
 They had quite a bit on World War II codes, since they played such a large part in the war.  My favorite was the section on the Navaho Code Talkers. "The most ingenious and successful code in military history."

They actually gave us two tours: one for the older kids, one for the younger.  The younger kids favorite thing was this robot.  It's a little hard to see, but the robot is scanning codes on hundreds of data tapes, removing them, sending them to requested computers, then replacing the tapes.

The kids all agreed that a robot that automatically put everything away exactly where it belonged would be a handy addition to their rooms!

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