Gift to TSA employees: Mission Hall virtual experience

Wednesday, November 16, 2022
Mission Hall Exhibit photo

TSA is unwrapping a special anniversary gift to employees, but it’s a gift everyone can enjoy.

In conjunction with the agency’s 21st anniversary commemoration this week, TSA is launching a unique virtual experience of TSA headquarters and our Mission Hall exhibit Remembering the Past, Informing the Future.

2nd floor HQ photo
A high resolution, spherical image of the second floor of TSA headquarters and the town hall. (TSA graphic)

The simulated tour is now available on where you can open TSA’s history with a simple click of the mouse. Click on “enter exhibit” and immerse yourself into a full digital experience and see headquarters’ beautiful Mission Hall exhibit on your computer or mobile device.

Serving as a tribute to the entire workforce, the exhibit represents everyone who plays a vital role at TSA. Each piece tells a story, sharing how TSA has changed over its 21-year history and how real-world events have shaped the way we secure our homeland.

“We knew we wanted to share Mission Hall, and creating a virtual version allows us to share it as widely as possible,” said TSA Historian Heather Farley. “Virtual Mission Hall pairs the physical exhibits with media and interactive experiences. We were able to create a digital replica of the physical displays and weave in even more detailed information, images and films, giving all of our visitors a chance to dive into TSA’s history and heritage at their own pace.”

Graphic of the Threat photo
The image of the case “The Threat.” This dropdown menu allows online visitors to select parts of the display to zoom in. The camera function allows visitors to take a snapshot of any part of the display and save to their personal device. (TSA graphic)

Farley said it took about a year of planning and development with the exhibit highlighting TSA’s key milestones.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to share TSA’s history,” she said. “As a historian, this is such an exciting experience to share and is a natural fit to offer this to our workforce and the public as part of TSA’s birthday celebrations.”

The virtual tour is designed for anyone interested in the history of TSA and transportation security and is easy to navigate.

“You can navigate using your keyboard or mouse to move through the space,” explained Farley. “There are navigation tiles across the bottom of the screen and icons throughout to lead you through the exhibit. We also have zoom features and even a camera so you can take and save a snapshot of your favorite artifacts.”
Farley led a group of about 30 TSA employees in planning and developing the virtual tour, and each did their homework to make this special project a reality.

Icons and tools photo
Icons and tools are available throughout the virtual experience, which users can click on to launch interactive media and TSA historical information. (TSA graphic)

“We researched and looked at what other museums like the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History were doing,” Farley recalled. “Then, I started researching who we could work with to create this type of experiential tour. We were lucky to work with Loren Ybarrondo of Visual Construction. Loren leads the way in creating these tours and has made these interactive experiences for the National Museum of Natural History, the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force and others.”

Nancy Flores Snyder created the physical Mission Hall at TSA headquarters in Springfield, Virginia, and is proud to see her exhibit on virtual display for the world to experience.

“It feels really cool to step into the space in a virtual environment and be able to walk through, click on things, interact with things,” said Flores Snyder. “As people are on their computers, on their phones day in and day out, (employees and headquarters visitors) don't really walk the space in Mission Hall. They might just glance through and spend five minutes just walking. It's really cool to have that virtual experience and to actually look at the videos and all of the information on there and be able to interact with it as long as you want.”

“What better way to celebrate our 21st anniversary than with sharing our history with the world,” Farley noted. “It is our common values and experiences and how we greet our mission each and every day that has led to TSA’s successes. Sharing these amazing milestones shows what TSA and every member of our team has achieved in these last 21 years protecting the nation, and I am proud to preserve these stories.”

By Don Wagner, TSA Strategic Communications & Public Affairs

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