Cold War Exhibit: Soviets, Spies, and Secrets

COLD WAR: Soviets, Spies and Secrets is an all-new interactive special exhibit open at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum through March 2023. 

The Cold War dominated every facet of postwar 20th century Western life. Bomb shelters, air raid drills and draft cards were as American as Apple Pie. Spies infiltrated the highest levels of government, while the Soviet Union stockpiled nuclear missiles and funded Marxist regimes around the world. 

From Khrushchev and the KGB to Vietnam and the A-Bomb; from the Space Race to SDI, Cuban Missiles and the CIA, Detente to DEFCON1, Brezhnev to Bush, relive 50 years on the brink of nuclear war at the Nixon Library. 

This interactive exhibit experience takes visitors behind the Iron Curtain to:

  • Enter service as a TOP SECRET AGENT by attending a briefing in the White House Cabinet Room at the onset of the nuclear arms race
  • Walk into post-war East Berlin by passing through the Checkpoint Charlie guard station
  • Feel the apprehension of the nuclear era as you climb into a fallout shelter, stocked full of food and supplies for a nuclear winter
  • Operate a ballistic missile submarine and simulate a nuclear launch
  • Test your spycraft skills by using cameras to view reconnaissance satellite photos of Soviet weapons systems in Cuba
  • Witness the Berlin Wall come crashing down

Artifacts featured in the exhibit and compiled together for the first time include a decommissioned nuclear bomb, scientific testing mannequins from the 1950s used at a nuclear test site, real tools used by KGB and CIA agents while deployed undercover, and iconic relics from the Soviet Union. These rare artifacts are on loan from the CIA Museum, International Spy Museum, National Atomic Testing Museum, Wende Museum and other institutions across the country. 

The exhibit also explores the ongoing imprint of the Cold War on popular culture with recognized items from the James Bond film series.

The Nixon presidency began at the height of Cold War tensions. By developing and implementing concurrent strategies of triangulation and détente, President Nixon successfully eased tensions between superpowers and achieved the first strategic arms control agreements with the Soviet Union.

Cold War: Soviets, Spies and Secrets will be included with admission to the Nixon Library. The Nixon Library is open seven days a week from 10 AM to 5 PM.

Nixon Library admission is $25 for adults, $21 for seniors, $19 for high school and college students, $19 for retired military, active military are free, children 5-11 for $15 and children 4 and under are free during the exhibit duration. 

Cold War Close-Ups

Click on an image below for an In-Depth Exploration of this Special Exhibit

KGB Men's Wool Blazer