Visit the Top Secret spy exhibition at the Science Museum

Head to the Science Museum this summer for an exciting, free exhibition exploring UK spies, ciphers and cyber security.

Top Secret (from 10 Jul – 23 Feb 2020) will detail the history of communications intelligence over the past century, including the advent of cyber security, as well as what to expect from the future.

Designed to offer a unique and informative experience to people of all ages, Top Secret will appeal to anyone who wishes to learn more about intelligence agencies. It’s being held to mark the first 100 years of Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), which is the UK’s intelligence, security and cyber agency.


Declassified files and artefacts from the private collections of the Science Museum Group and GCHQ will be displayed, with some being shown to the public for the first time. The exhibition charts the development of gadgets and devices used for intelligence gathering over the years and explores how GCHQ keeps UK residents safe, what it takes to maintain digital security today and the challenges that operatives face.

Visitors will also be able to explore the story behind the breaking of the German Enigma code during World War II at Bletchley Park near Milton Keynes, which was famously led by Alan Turing. This period of history will also be shown from the Nazi perspective, with the inclusion of an Enigma M1070 machine captured by Britain in 1945.

Another object featured is the Pickwick secure telephone system. This innocent-looking red telephone was used to conduct highly sensitive conversations between President Kennedy and Prime Minister Harold Macmillan during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. It includes a small plaque that reads ‘speech is secure only when lamp glows’.


Children (and big kids) will enjoy taking part in Top Secret’s interactive challenges, which are key to the end goal of this exhibition: GCHQ’s director Jeremy Fleming explains that ‘this exhibition is critical to inspire the next generation of cyber security and STEM skills [science, technology, engineering and maths] experts’.

Your mission – should you choose to accept it – won’t cost you a penny, but it must be booked in advance on the Science Museum’s website.

Daily 10am-6pm. Admission free
Exhibition Rd, SW7 2DD
0333-241 4000 | www.sciencemuseum.

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