The Cold War Museum, a 501(C)(3) charity, is a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate. As a result, it has pledges of support for artifact loans from Smithsonian Air and Space, American History, National Portrait, and US Postal Museums. In the meantime, the Museum is working with the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC and the Atomic Bunker in Harnekop near Berlin, Germany to temporarily display some of its artifacts.
The museum has over $2,500,000 worth of international Cold War artifacts in its collection. Museum holdings include but are not limited to items from the Berlin Airlift, U-2 Incident, Cuban Missile Crisis, USS Liberty, USS Pueblo, and Space Race. In addition, the museum has over $500,000 worth of Soviet, East German, and former Eastern Bloc flags, banners, and uniforms.
The museum boasts the largest collection of Civil Defense items in America having acquired the former Washington, DC Civil Defense headquarters. Other unique items include the mailbox used by Aldrich Ames, a Stasi prison door and cot, a 5,000 sq. ft. Cuban Missile Crisis display complete with a Soviet SA-2 missile, four Nike missiles, and items from the United States Military Liaison Mission. The Museum will exhibit these artifacts and related items at its future home.
The museum has developed various educational programs and activities to help educate future generation about the Cold War. Museum speakers have visited numerous grade schools, high schools, colleges, and universities in order to teach students about the Cold War. The Museum also assists with educational programming for the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, A&E Television Networks, the Learning Channel, C-SPAN, and numerous public access stations.
The mobile exhibit on the U-2 Incident, the “Spies of Washington Tour,” and the Cold War Conversations lecture series continue to generate interest and support.
The mobile exhibit on the U-2 Incident of May 1, 1960 helps promote the need for a permanent Cold War Museum. The exhibit has been displayed at many museums across the United States and internationally. The traveling exhibit acts as a catalyst for the creation of a permanent Cold War Museum. The mobile exhibit, currently on display at the Pacific Coast Air Museum through April 15, 2008, will travel to the ITOW Veterans Museum in Perham, Minnesota on May 1, 2008.
In collaboration with Carol S. Bessette, Certified Master Tour Guide, the Cold War Museum offers the original Spy Tour of Washington. Since its earliest days, Washington, D.C. has been the scene of international intrigue, espionage, and intelligence activity, as the U.S. government has tried to learn the plans of other countries while keeping its own plans secret. Key players in this non-ending drama include personalities as diverse as Rose Greenhow, Herbert Yardley, Major General “Wild Bill” Donovan, Aldrich Ames, and Robert Hanssen. This educational bus tour will introduce you to many of the locations in and around Washington that have been associated with intelligence and counter intelligence activities for the past two hundred years. Some walking is required. Optional stop at International Spy Museum not included in price.
On October 14, 2006, the museum hosted an international conference to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian and Polish Crises. Dr. Sergei Khrushchev, the son of Nikita Khrushchev, and David Eisenhower, grandson of President Eisenhower participated with VIPs from Hungary and Poland and well renowned scholars. The Hungarian and Polish Embassies, American Hungarian Federation, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, the Hungarian Technology Center, as well as the Cold War Museum and the South County Secondary School were hosts for the program. Sponsors that included EnviroSolutions, Inc., K. Hovnanian Homes, Marriott Fairfax at Fair Oaks, Northern Virginia Community College, Verizon, and Vulcan Materials Company.
On October 2, 2007, Cold War Conversations-II took place to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the 1957 launch of Sputnik. Dr. Sergei Khrushchev, the son of Nikita Khrushchev and author of Memoirs of Nikita Khrushchev 1953–1964 and Paul Dickson, author of Sputnik—Shock of the Century discussed this important Cold War historical event. Dialog between the two and Q&A from the audience followed their presentations. Washington Dulles Airport Hotel, Northern Virginia Community College – Loudoun Campus, NASA, and the Cold War Museum were event sponsors.
The Museum is currently working with the Embassy of the Czech Republic to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Prague Spring and with the British Berlin Airlift Association to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift later this year. There are sponsorship opportunities available in conjunction with these anniversary events as well as other Cold War Museum educational events and activities. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
Periodically, the Cold War Museum hosts book signing lectures for authors who have written on the Cold War. The Cold War Times is a quarterly online publication produced for the Cold War Museum and Cold War Veterans.
In 1997, Congressman Tom Davis, with the assistance of the Cold War Museum, drafted legislation for the creation of a “Cold War Memorial” that will honor all the men and women who were part of Cold War events and activities.