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Spy Exchange And Security Center And See The Museum In Person For Free!

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The Spy And Private-Eye Museum has opened in Austin Texas in a room off the Spy Exchange And Security Center. It features artifacts and history of the private-eye and spy profession. Admission is only $20.00 or free with any purchase of $100.00 or more. NAIS members are free.

The Spy And Private-Eye Museum is the collection of Ralph Thomas which features hundreds of different antiques, artifacts and paper documents pertaining to private investigation and spying. Included in the exhibit is old reward posters and antique and rare case file documents from Pinkerton National Detective Agency in the 1800's, a huge assortment of vintage subminiature spy cameras, old and antique tape recorders, movie surveillance cameras and countermeasures gear, old and rare badges, antique polygraph machines and audio listening devises, old ads from investigative agencies as well as old courses and books. You will also find a huge assortment of vintage and antique binoculars, spy monoculars and night vision equipment. Of special interest is sets of vintage and rare bumper beepers as well as movie props and signed photos from detective TV shows and movies.

A number of artifacts from the cold war and spying era of the 1960's and 1970's is included in the exhibit including a piece of the Berlin wall, signs from Checkpoint Charlie, a red telephone that was reportedly used upstairs in the White House by John Kennedy and a telephone from the west wing of the White House. Antique bomb shelter signs and an antique radiation detector are also on display. An antique Russian telephoto Zenit camera is on display that was used to take photos of people going into and out of the US Embassy in the Soviet Union. A complete Minox spy camera kit with all the accessories is on display that was used by a CIA agent. Thomas's fascination with communication equipment includes a collection of telegraph keys, old and vintage cell phones, old acoustic coupled modems and some very old computers used by NAIS and Thomas Investigative Publications from the late 1970's and early 1980s.

On of Thomas's most interesting exhibits is the Watergate Bug and Watergate collection which includes what is rumored to be one of three artifacts used as well as a collection of other rare items from the President Nixon administration and Watergate scandal. How other more popular collection is rare documents, letters, reports, badges, case photos and invoices from Pinkerton's National Detective Agency.

Two Featured Presentations

The Spy And Private-Eye Museum features small high tech digital interactive displays that set on countertops which present and explain some of the fascinating history and exhibits you will find by pushing a button. One framed photograph signed by Ronald Reagan on a photo of him giving his famous speech at the Berlin Wall has a button you push which then gives the famous Reagan quote, "Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall!"

Another special item on display is an old counter intelligence briefcase used by counter intelligence agents to check telephone lines for bugs and wiretaps and fry them electronically when a bug or wiretap was found. There are old books on display penned by Allen Pinkerton, America's first private-eye, along with actual ad copy for some of the Pinkerton books that were sold in the 1800's. In one corner is what Thomas calls the first audio recorder which recorded to a wax cylinder. There are several big and bulky audio recorders that recorded to metal wire instead of magnetic tape. A display in one case reveals several smaller wire recorders called the Minifon which one could wear under a suite and had a microphone built into a watch.

Admission fees are used to maintain the exhibits and do new ones. By this fall, a second room with more exhibits will open. Below is some of the stuff you can see on display in person. You can read more about the goals and preservation activity of the Spy And Private-Eye Museum by clicking here to read a personal note by Ralph Thomas


The Spy And Private-Eye Museum By Subject

New And Featured Presentations

New Section Added- Old And Antique Investigative Reports

Article: History And Evolution Of The Audio Tape Recorder
Article: History And Trends - Early Detective Agency Advertising And Marketing
Article: The History And Evolution Of Covert Video Surveillance
Article: History And Evolution Of Spy And Investigative Photography

Antique And Vintage Subminiature Spy Cameras

Antique And Vintage Surveillance Movie Cameras

Antique And Vintage Audio Recorders

Antique And Vintage Audio Surveillance

Antique And Vintage Binoculars, Night Vision And Optics

Antique And Vintage Countermeasures Gear

Antique And Vintage Bumper Beeper/Surveillance Tracking

Other Vintage And Antique Detection Gear

Old Private Detective Agency Investigative Reports

Antique And Vintage Detective Agency Advertising And Paper

Antique And Vintage Polygraph And Lie Detection Gear

The Cold War - Relics And Collections

Antique And Vintage Spy And Private-Eye Communication & Computers

Antique And Vintage Badge Collection

Antique And Vintage Weapons And Self Defense

The Allen Pinkerton Collection

Highly Important Private Investigators

Antique And Vintage Reward And Notice Posters/Signs

Highly Important TV And Movie Private Investigators & Spies


PI TV - The Classics Are Back!
Old Television And Movies With Private Investigators On DVD

Links To Other Museums And Presentations

Main Investigative Gear And Equipment Menu

What's New Covert Video Tape Recorders Car Trackers Digital Cameras Countermeasures
See Behind You Lie Detection Spy Gadgets Self Defense Badges ID Cards
Detection Gear Microphones Night Vision Lock picks Binoculars Cop Shop
Software Handcuffs Police Batons Super Hearing Clothing Tel co Gadgets
Voice Changers Books Certifications Diversion Safes Agency Seals  
White House CIA Collection Spy Toys      

Main Book, Manual And Investigative Training Subjects Menu

Missing Persons Surveillance Insurance Claims Repossession Sources Of Info Forms Contracts
Statements Missing Heirs Assets Searching Security Consulting Interviewing Process Server
Piracy Security PI Marketing Body guarding Internet Online Searching
Become A PI Background Judgment Recovery Accident Investigation Pre-Employment Paralegal Topics
Report Writing Computers Forensics Domestic Countermeasures Civil Investigation
Photography Criminal General Training Corporate Pretexts Electronics
eMail Tracing Bail Recovery Personal Injury Mystery Shopping Identity Theft Be An Info Broker
Software Terrorism Police Science Self Defense Firearms Certifications



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All rights reserved.