The hilariously ugly sketches of the NSA’s Hobo guide

National Cryptologic Museum’s 2008 exhibit explored Depression-era code through the magic of doofy cat doodles

Written by JPat Brown
Edited by Michael Morisy

In 2008, the National Cryptologic Museum, which the New York Times has called “the public face of the NSA,” announced an exciting new exhibit exploring the world of Depression-era Hobo code. Nearly a decade later, much of the supplemental materials to the exhibit are no longer accessible - but they still exist on the site’s backend, so we can bring you “Looking For a Sign” in all of its goofy glory.

Submitted for the approval of the public domain, allow us to introduce the NSA’s Hobo Gang, including …

Aggro Triangle!

Disapproving Venn Diagram!

Hello Hobo!

Low-Budget Monopoly Pieces!

The Meh and Bones!

Snow White And the Number of Dwarves We Could Afford!

Oblique Inherit the Wind Reference!

Passable Bird!

and finally, Okay Sure a Train We Guess!

We’ve filed for the development materials regarding the exhibit, so be sure to check back in four years to see if we actually get them. In the meantime, the complete guide to Hobo signs is embedded below.


Image via NSA.gov