This week, a project I support is holding meetings at the National Cryptologic Museum, in “The Magic Room”. Now, aside from the fact that it is cool to hold a meeting in “The Magic Room”, what I’m finding interesting about the museum is its history. I’m not talking about the cryptological history in the museum itself (which is also cool), but the history of the building.
You see, the NCM used to be a motel… the Colony 7 motel. NSA used to have some in-facility exhibits, but no one could see them. Just outside the NSA Ft. Meade headquarters (right outside the employee gate) was the Colony 7 Motel, part of the Quality Inn chain. There was even a dinner theatre on premises. There were even rumors (although I’ve found nothing to confirm or deny them) that Russians rented a number of rooms. In the Spring of 1990, NSA purchased the facility, and the DIRNSA of the time suggested it be used as an NSA-operated museum. The housing wings were torn down, and the main building was renovated into the museum (looking at the map, the Colony 2 room is the Magic Room, and the library is the former restaurant). The museum opened to NSA employees and their families and other members of the intelligence community on July 15, 1993. Not even a press release was issued. According to the foundation’s website, there are plans to build a newer, grander, museum.
This got me thinking about other motels and museums. I’ve written before about the National Civil Rights Museum, which is housed in the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King was shot. Are there others?
Searching, I discovered the Coral Court Motel in St. Louis on Route 66. The “No-Tel Motel with a History”, the facade from the motel is preserved at the National Transportation Museum.
That’s all I could find. Are you aware of any motel facades preserved in museums, or that are now serving as museums?