–Elizabeth Merritt, VP Strategic Foresight and Founding Director, Center for the Future of Museums
Elizabeth Merritt (EM): Tamara, tell our readers a bit about the history of the International Spy Museum.
Tamara Christian (TC): The origins of the Spy Museum date to the Korean War when our founder, Milton Maltz, was in the US Navy, and stationed at the National Security Agency. He was assigned to code breaking and became very cognizant of the role intelligence plays in war and peacekeeping. He’d always had an interest in history, and this experience focused his attention on intelligence and national security. After he sold his company (Malrite Communications Group) in 1998, he and his wife Tamar focused attention on their philanthropic interests, including museums, medical, and educational causes.
He still had an interest in intelligence and thought it would be an extraordinary concept for a museum. So he started an advisory board of people in the intelligence community to plan the International Spy Museum. It launched in 2002 as a for-profit company with an educational mission, with programs for adults and youth.