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In museums

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If your favorite character in James Bond films was not the suave spy but the mysterious invention-king Q, then a visit to the N.C. Museum of History's America's Secret Warriors: The OSS and the George Watts Hill Collection should be your next rainy-day outing. As Beta was to VHS, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was to the CIA--a creation largely forgotten or obscured by its omnipresent successor. The OSS was organized in 1942 and disbanded in 1945, but its genesis marks the United States' official entry to the fields of international intelligence and military planning. One of its personnel was North Carolina native George Watts Hill, a well-known Durham business leader who served as an army officer in the OSS research and development branch. Gadgets of all kinds were manufactured by the R&D guys, including silencers, compasses hidden in cufflinks and preloaded guns that could fit in a closed palm. Roxanne Merritt, a curator from the Special Warfare Museum in Fort Bragg, will give a talk on OSS involvement in World War II on August 9 at 12:10 p.m. For more information, call 715-0200.

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