PHILADELPHIA, PA - From the burning of the White House in 1814 to the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Americans have contended with enemies within our borders since the founding days of the republic. Visitors will uncover these stories of espionage, treason, and deception in Spies, Traitors & Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America, making its Philadelphia debut today at the National Constitution Center and running through May 30, 2011. Created by the International SpyMuseum, the exhibition dramatically illustrates the challenge of securing our nation without compromising the civil liberties upon which it was founded.
“Spies, Traitors & Saboteurs is certain to thrill visitors with stories of intrigue and inspire them with our nation’s resilience,” said National Constitution Center President and CEO David Eisner. “We think the exhibition stimulates dialogue about how we can defend our country while also protecting the individual rights and freedoms that are at the heart of our democracy.”
“It’s a particularly poignant experience for me to return to Philadelphia, my home and ‘The Cradle of Liberty,’ with SPY’s high impact traveling exhibition, Spies, Traitors & Saboteurs,” stated Karen Corbin, COO of the International Spy Museum. “America changed forever on September 11, 2001. The National Constitution Center is the perfect venue for a conversation about what that wrenching and lasting change has come to mean to all of us.”
Opening Weekend Events
To celebrate the opening of the exhibition, visitors are invited to enjoy special weekend events from Friday, March 4 through Sunday, March 6, 2011, beginning with a “sudden dance” performance on Friday at 10:00 a.m. in the Grand Hall Lobby. Inspired by the themes in the exhibition, this ten-minute piece, choreographed by Philadelphia-based multidisciplinary artist Makoto Hirano, features seven professional and student dancers who will incorporate music and costumes reminiscent of classic Hollywood spy films. Following the performance, a ribbon-cutting ceremony will mark the official opening of the exhibition to the public.
Throughout opening weekend, visitors will learn how hidden messages, invisible ink, and code names were used by an elaborate spy ring during the American Revolution, as part of “The Culper Ring” show in the Grand Hall Lobby. This interactive program explores the story behind the spy ring organized by Benjamin Tallmadge under the orders of General George Washington in order to track the actions of the British troops. From 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., children and their families can visit special activity areas to find out if they have what it takes to be a spy. From 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., guests can create their own spy gadgets such as cipher wheels and invisible ink. In connection with Women’s History Month, the Center also will offer a special program about American women involved in espionage.
Through major events and periods in history when America was threatened by enemies within its borders, Spies, Traitors & Saboteurs depicts how responses to domestic attacks have driven counterintelligence measures that continue to affect our everyday lives. Events include:
American Helps Japanese Pilot Terrorize Hawaiian Island After Pearl Harbor Attack – December 7, 1941
Kremlin Launches One of the First Cold War Attacks Against the U.S. – April 1945
Radical Group Explodes Bomb in the U.S. Capitol – March 1, 1971
Massive Bomb Destroys the Federal Building in Oklahoma City – April 19, 1995
Beyond September 11th – Terrorism Today
Artifacts, interactive displays, and themed environments accompany these stories. Highlights include:
Burnt piece of the White House (1814), on loan from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. [Exclusive to the Center’s showing of Spies, Traitors & Saboteurs.]
Anarchist Globe Bomb (replica, c. 1886) presented as evidence in the trial of the men tried in connection with the Chicago Haymarket riot.
APL Badge and ID Card (1917) carried by Operatives of the American Protective League (APL) who spied on their fellow Americans on behalf of the U.S. Justice Department during World War I.
Ritual Klan Red Robe (c. 1965) worn by the Klan “Kladd,” the elected Klan officer who presided over the secret rituals and ceremonies of the Ku Klux Klan.
Glass and granite fragments from the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, as well as a shoe that was recovered from the wreckage, on loan from the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. [Exclusive to the Center’s showing of Spies, Traitors & Saboteurs.]
Fragments of the Planes that hit the World Trade Center (2001) recovered after the attacks on September 11, 2001, and used as evidence by the FBI in their ensuing investigation.
Visitor Polling Stations, unique computer interactives that allow visitors to express their opinions on questions raised in the exhibition about how the nation has responded to the historical events presented. Poll questions were developed in consultation with The Gallup Organization. Visitors also can see how Americans responded to similar questions posed by The Gallup Poll throughout history.
In keeping with the Center’s mission to foster discussion and citizen engagement, evening programs about current and historical topics related to Spies, Traitors & Saboteurs will take place throughout the run of the exhibition. In advance of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Center will present a discussion on the nation’s shared pain and patriotism on that tragic day, as well as our national response and the issues it continues to raise. The Center also will conclude its two-part series titled “What is national security?” with 2010-11 Visiting Scholar Richard V. Allen, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and former National Security Advisor.
Additionally, the Center’s education and public programming staff in the Annenberg Center for Education and Outreach has developed a variety of resource materials and interactive activities to further augment the exhibition, including “Spy Talks” with real-life members of crime fighting and counterintelligence agencies, educator workshops, a special student guide that teaches students how to gather intelligence and decode important information on their way to becoming secret agents, and more.
Fox 29 is the official media partner of Spies, Traitors & Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America at the National Constitution Center. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is participating with the National Constitution Center on Spies, Traitors & Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America.
About the International Spy Museum
The International Spy Museum, the only public institution in the world dedicated to presenting the world history of espionage, features the largest permanent collection of international spy-related artifacts on public display. Through interactive exhibits with state-of-the-art audiovisual effects, film, and hands-on components, the Museum traces the evolution of espionage through the people who practiced the profession and it provides a context for guests to better interpret the role intelligence plays in current events.
About the National Constitution Center
The National Constitution Center, located at 525 Arch St. on Philadelphia’s Independence Mall, is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated toincreasing public understanding of the U.S. Constitution and the ideas and values it represents. The Center serves as a museum, an education center, and a forum for debate on constitutional issues. The museum dramatically tells the story of the Constitution from Revolutionary times to the present through more than 100 interactive,multimedia exhibits, film, photographs, text, sculpture and artifacts, and features a powerful, award-winning theatrical performance, “Freedom Rising.” The Center also houses the Annenberg Center for Education and Outreach, which serves as the hub for national constitutional education.