Obscura Society DC: Cracking the Code of the Voynich Manuscript - Atlas Obscura
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Washington, D.C.

Obscura Society DC: Cracking the Code of the Voynich Manuscript

Join the Obscura Society DC and the Folger Shakespeare Library as we try to decode the world's most mysterious and still-undeciphered text

The Voynich Manuscript is the Renaissance's greatest and most bizarre riddle. Who wrote it? Why was it written? What does it mean? What's with the naked pregnant women dancing in green liquid?

You are hereby invented to attend the Obscura Society DC's inaugural event as we explore the Voynich Manuscript, the brave humans who have attempted to crack the code, and other Renaissance-era encoded works. 

The event will take place at the Folger Shakespeare Library, home to the manuscript while on loan from Yale University and the exhibit "Decoding the Renaissance: 500 Years of Codes and Ciphers." The Folger is also the keeper of the world’s largest Shakespeare collection and a world-renowned center for scholarship, learning, culture, and the arts.

We will be joined by Betsy Smoot, historian for the Center of Cryptologic History at the NSA, and Ron Bogdan, Folger consultant for the exhibit "Decoding the Renaissance.”

The program will include:

-  Wine reception while exploring the exhibit.

-  Background on William Friedman, the Voynich Manuscript, and the exhibit at-large, led by Ron Bogdan.

-  Discussion of William Friedman, America's most famed cryptographer and first head of the NSA, who spent forty years attempting to unearth the code he believed was buried in the Voynich. This will be led by Betsy Smoot.

- A brief code-cracking and writing workshop, led by Betsy Smoot, which will take place in the beautiful Paster Reading Room, normally inaccessible to the general public. 

 - Insight into other Renaissance-era cryptographic texts and methods.

Tickets will go fast for this exclusive event, so please purchase early. Part of the proceeds of the tickets will be donated to institutes of the curators' choosing. 

Any questions, please contact matt@atlasobscura.com