So summer is here and you want to find outings of interest to family members of various ages. One excellent spot is the National Churchill Museum in Fulton (located 90 minutes from St. Louis, just 10 minutes off I-70).
Here, Winston Churchill made the “Iron Curtain” speech that many see as the start of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. Children and adults can explore the life and legacy of Churchill in the museum complex, which includes a Christopher Wren church brought stone-by-stone from London; a 32-foot section of the Berlin Wall sculpted by Churchill’s granddaughter; and the historic gymnasium in which Churchill spoke in 1946. (Bring a basketball and shoot some hoops!)
Museum exhibits are hands on and technologically rich. Use a Victorian magic lantern to see images of Churchill’s early family life. Walk through a World War I trench and use the periscope to keep an eye on enemy troop movements.
The museum also has exhibits on World War II, allowing you to explore London during the Blitz and watch as Britain wards off the Nazi war machine and struggles to survive. Celebrate the Allied victory and the post-war years. And hear highlights of the famous “Iron Curtain” speech Churchill delivered at Westminster College. (There might even be secret messages left by spies to intercept!) In 2016 the museum hosts several original oil paintings by Churchill on loan from the Churchill family.
Then climb the spiral staircase and visit the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury. Burned in 1666 in the Great Fire of London, it burned again in 1940 during the height of Nazi bombing. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, St. Mary’s was dismantled and rebuilt at Westminster College as a fitting memorial to Churchill’s historic visit to Fulton.
Also see and touch real sections of the Berlin Wall. Churchill’s granddaughter created the massive sculpture that celebrates the “Breakthrough” at the end of the Cold War when the wall no longer separated Europe.
The National Churchill Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The self-guided tour is “go at your own pace” and can usually be accomplished in about 90 minutes (depending on attention spans and reading levels). The Berlin Wall is located outdoors and is a great place to stretch your legs before heading out on your next adventure! For more information visit NationalChurchillMuseum.org.
Written by Joanna Babb from the National Churchill Museum.