National Security Agency's Cryptologic Museum
Where: There is no address. Really. But the NSA Web site does provide directions: From Baltimore, take 295 South or Interstate 95 South to Route 32 East toward Fort Meade. Move to left lane and exit onto Canine Road. Turn left at the light onto Colony Seven Road. Follow past the aircraft and Shell station into the museum parking lot. For more directions and a map, visit the Web site (see below).
When: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; 10 a.m.-2 p.m. every first and third Saturday. (That is code for this Saturday.)
Why: Pound out a message to your honey on a vintage 1937 German Enigma machine; pick up a telephone and hear how secure (i.e. scrambled) phone conversations have sounded through the ages (in the beginning, the voice sounded like Donald Duck); marvel at the size of a giant Cray supercomputer. Some of the technology on view was recently top secret, and some still is (the classified parts have been removed). "Most people are very surprised about how much information is on display," said Jack Ingram, a longtime National Security Agency employee and the museum's curator. The NSA's roughly 25,000 employees (the exact number is classified) make and break codes - they track e-mails, listen in on cell phone conversations, intercept encrypted messages. Peek into this world and learn something about them ... or at least their history. Admission is free.
Information: Call 301-688-5849 or visit www.nsa.gov/museum. - Annie Linskey