The Cold War Museum

The Cold War Museum was founded when avid history buff John Welch partnered with Francis Gary Powers, Jr.,  the son of the U2 pilot shot down over Russia, to see to fruition their mission to “educate, preserve, and research the confrontations from the end of World War II to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.” Both graduates of George Mason University, the duo chose Vint Hill for its tremendous historical significance relating back to the Cold War, as well as its ideal, picturesque location and close proximity to the Greater Washington Region.

Dr. Jason Hall, Executive Director of the Cold War Museum and professor at George Mason University, notes that “Vint Hill was perhaps the most important U.S. signals intelligence base during WWII.  The farmer who owned the property was a ham radio operator. When he told a friend in the Army that he could pick up conversations between cab drivers and dispatchers in Berlin, the Army bought his farm.  This location is remarkable in its ability to pick up radio signals from around the world.”

Today the Cold War Museum exists at the intersection of history and a community’s resurgence as a charming locale, connecting current events with their historical precedents.  As Vint Hill ushers in a revitalization of the community, the museum will continue to play an integral part in educating members of the public about the significance of the location. This past weekend, Vint Hill was visited by 120 members of the Army Security Agency (ASA) for their annual alumni association picnic, held at the Inn at Vint Hill, once the Officer’s Club of the former Army base.  This reminiscent reunion allows for the retired members to revisit their secretive past here and remark about the community’s progess since. The legacy of these veterans lives on through this annual occasion with thanks to the museum, which continues to share their stories and the importance of this property in particular. One ASA leader noted that Vint Hill is one of only four places in the world with the unique geology that allows radio reception from around the world.

With a vested interest in Vint Hill, the museum’s operations team and board are committed to using the museum to educate future generations that there was a Cold War characterized by the real potential of using atomic weapons, and to honor those who have served in the Cold War.  “Even if their names cannot be known, we can honor their work,” Dr. Hall says.

The museum is open on Saturdays from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sundays from 1-4 p.m.