Not many people want to relive the Cold War, but there’s no doubt that the KGB — the infamous Soviet security agency — was, and still is, a topic of fascination for many Americans. For aficionados of Cold War history, the new KGB Spy Museum in New York City, which contains thousands of artifacts related to the secret agency’s rise, is a must-see.
Even for those who don’t exactly consider themselves historians, the museum may prove interesting in light of current events, which have thrust Russian intelligence into the forefront of the news cycle. The museum was founded by Julius Urbaitis and his daughter, Agne Urbaityte, the result of over 30 years of collecting. Urbaitis first became fascinated by spy history when he came across a listening device that belonged to Adolf Hitler.
The museum doesn’t gloss over the KGB’s controversial history, either. Far from it. There’s even an interactive mock-interrogation exhibit where visitors can sit in a room with a KGB-uniformed mannequin and get tied to a chair. A general rule as you proceed through the museum — if it looks authentic, it probably is. You’ll find lamps taken directly from the desk of Stalin and the original doors from a KGB prison. Glass displays showcase the KGB’s surveillance tactics, like embedded lenses and bugs in various household objects.
Vitali Baganov, the actor who played a Russian gangster in The Sopranos and starred in the TV show The Americans, even visited the Spy Museum recently and recorded a brief video expressing his support.
Guided walking tours cost $43.99, but if you want to show yourself around, the cost is $25 for adults and $20 for students and seniors. Children under six can enter for free. The museum is located at 245 West 14th Street in New York City and is open every day from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM.
H/T: The New York Times