International Spy Museum
International Spy Museum Credit: Darrow Montgomery

The next time you’re tempted to ask someone where they work, consider asking them their favorite museum instead. It may not be as good for networking, but the answer to that question speaks volumes about a person’s values, dreams, and desires. For instance, if someone says they loved the recently defunct Newseum, they are probably trying to signal that they appreciate the idea of journalism, if not its specific values. Or maybe they are just being nostalgic. As for how to interpret other answers, here is a (highly subjective, impressionistic) key to what a person’s favorite area museum says about them.

National Museum of African American History and Culture: You enjoy hard truths and tight spaces.

National Museum of Women in the Arts: You’ve ridden a motorcycle in an evening gown.

National Building Museum: You’ve lost at least one friendship over an improperly placed accent wall.

International Spy Museum: You’ve disabled the speed governor on a rental car or e-scooter.

National Museum of the American Indian: You wince every time someone mentions the Washington Football Team by name.

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden: You’ve used a birthday cake as a pillow.

Renwick Gallery: You’ve used a pillow as a birthday cake.

National Air and Space Museum: You miss your government-issued cell phone. 

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: You miss your government-issued satellite phone. 

National Museum of Natural History: You’ve been banned from a pet cemetery.

National Museum of Health and Medicine: You’ve been banned from a human cemetery.

National Portrait Gallery: Your Halloween costumes are never self-explanatory.

Madame Tussauds: You’ve purchased marijuana from an ice cream truck.

National Museum of American History: You’ve purchased hard tack from a Civil War reenactor.

National Postal Museum: You know the exact number of bird species you’ve seen in your life and you don’t even like birds.

Smithsonian Castle: Your “out of the office” email reply has been on for months, and no one has noticed or cared.

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