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Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Launches New TechQuest Program

Kids Gather Secret Cold War Intelligence in “Eye in the Sky” Game


The mission: locate a missing U.S. military aircraft and recover the top-secret technology that disappeared along with it. It is vital that this important technology stay out of enemy hands. The situation is critical and the Smithsonian TechQuest team is monitoring the operation closely. Smithsonian TechQuest’s “Eye in the Sky,” a new educational program at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, is an alternate-reality game that tests the observation powers, problem-solving skills and decision-making abilities of players ages 10 and above as they take on the role of intelligence analysts during the Cold War.

As players undertake their new roles as intelligence analysts, they must solve puzzles and clues using “classified” information and museum artifacts. Verifying the intelligence they gather at every step, players must form a plan to locate the missing aircraft, recover the technology and save the downed pilots. Although the game is primarily self-guided, players attend a timed briefing provided by museum staff. The program features hands-on activities with museum Explainers, and requires participants to identify four artifacts with Cold War connections.

Smithsonian TechQuest will run the second Friday of every month, as well as most Saturdays, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with the last briefing beginning at 2:30 p.m. More information and dates of upcoming games can be found at Smithsonian TechQuest is free and is made possible by the support of McDonald’s USA LLC.

The National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located in Chantilly, Va., near Washington’s Dulles International Airport. It is open daily from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free, but there is a $15 parking fee at the Udvar-Hazy Center.

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