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 just 90 minutes from St. Louis off of Interstate 70).
From the time you arrive in the quaint town of Fulton, home of Westminster College, to the moment you drive toward the Christopher Wren designed church (Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury) that houses the Museum, you somehow feel as though you are in a different time.
This is a place to experience history. In 1946, Winston Churchill came to Westminster College to deliver an address that became known as the Iron Curtain speech. Invited by President Harry Truman, another great Missourian, Churchill predicted the Cold War and newspaper headlines in the United States at the time ridiculed him calling him a “war monger.” In fact, he correctly predicted an era in world history. The Museum, the only one of its kind in North America, tells the story not only of the speech but also is a memorial to Churchill’s life – ranging from his high profile speech and statesmanship to his love of painting.
Also on the grounds, visitors find the largest contiguous pieces of the Berlin Wall in a statue called “Breakthrough” created by Edwina Sandys, the granddaughter of Churchill. In one short visit, one can be in England in a 17th century church damaged by German bombers in World War II and brought piece by piece to Fulton and reassembled here in 1969, learn about Churchill and his legacy, and see the ultimate symbol of the end of the Cold War in the Berlin Wall sculpture. Not bad for an afternoon!!
The Museum hosts timely exhibits and this summer is no exception. With the 70th Anniversary of D-Day commemoration on June 6, 2014, this summer’s exhibit, on loan from the U.S. Navy Art Collection, includes original paintings that chronicle the Normandy Invasion. The exhibit runs from May 30 to July 20.
The exhibit tells the story of the greatest amphibious operation ever launched –the Normandy Invasion— through the visions and images of three of the U.S. Navy’s most-talented combat artists: Mitchell Jamieson, Alexander Russo and Dwight Shepler. The 63 watercolors and drawings in this exhibit are chronologically arranged so visitors can receive a true sense of the Invasion from beginning to end. There are also special children’s activities to go along with the exhibit.
Widely hailed as the turning point of World War II, the Normandy Invasion, code name Operation Overlord, sent 1,000 ships, the greatest armada ever to set sail, from the British Isles to the French coast on the night of June 5, 1944, to launch the liberation of Europe. More than 200,000 Allied soldiers landed on those beaches and although the cost in human life was high, the invasion held and the door to Europe opened. More than two months later, Paris was liberated. Within the year, Hitler was dead and Germany defeated.
Summer is a great time to visit! You can spend an hour or a whole day at the Museum. It is truly a hidden treasure in the heart of Missouri!
The National Churchill Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Regular admission prices are $7.50 for adults, $6.50 for seniors, AAA and AARP members, $5.50 for those ages 12-18 and college students, and $4.50 for those ages 6-11. Children ages 5 and younger are admitted free. For more information about the National Churchill Museum, visit NationalChurchillMuseum.org, Facebook/Churchill Museum and on Twitter @ChurchillMuseum.
Written by Allison Collinger from the National Churchill Museum.