Last updated: 6/23/2011
Fulton, Missouri
Street Address
501 Westminster Ave
Fulton, MO 65251
Mailing Address
501 Westminster Ave
Fulton, MO 65251
phone: 573-592-5234
fax: 573-592-5222
e-mail: sara.winingear@churchillmemorial.org
web: www.nationalchurchillmuseum.org
Hours
Daily10 AM - 4:30 PM
Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day
Admissions
Adults: $6.00 Senior, AAA, & AARP: $5.00 Youth (12-18) & College Students: $4.00 Children (6-11) & Group Tour Chaperones: $3.00 Children (5 & under): Free
Services
Gift Shop
Special Event Rental
Group Tours
Staff
Dr. Robin Havers, Executive Director
phone: 573-592-5233
Sara Winingear, Assistant Director
phone: 573-592-5234
Amanda Plybon, Education and Public Programs Coordinator
phone: 573-592-6242
Kit Freudenberg, Director of Development
phone: 573-592-5022
Elizabeth Murphy, Interim Curator/Archivist
phone: 573-592-5626
Meda Young, Executive Assistant to Dr. Havers
phone: 573-592-5602
Beckie Mccue-Schwinke, Gift Shop Coordinator
phone: 573-592-5263
Description

Welcome to The National Churchill Museum. The Museum is located on the Westminster College campus in Fulton, Missouri, the site of Churchill's famous "Iron Curtain" speech. The Museum was founded in 1969 to honor the life and legacy of one of the greatest leaders of the twentieth century. It is housed within the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury, a 12th century church from the middle of London, redesigned by Sir Christopher Wren in 1677, that was relocated to Fulton. The undercroft of this beautiful and historic Wren church is a museum filled with a priceless treasury of artifacts and information relating to the life and times of Sir Winston Churchill. Churchill himself was intrigued by the imaginative idea of a restored Wren church in America's heartland. He wrote, "It may symbolize in the eyes of the English-speaking peoples the ideals of Anglo-American association on which rest, now as before, so many of our hopes for peace and the future of mankind."

The museum tells the story of a hero who led the free world's fight for freedom, from his privileged youth as the son of a British aristocrat to the darkest days of war. This museum provides a chronicle of the life and times of one of the world's most memorable political leaders and serves as a venue for special artistic and historical exhibits, as well as a variety of social and cultural events. The National Churchill Museum is part of the fabric of everyday life on the campus of Westminster College. Students attend church services here, use the extensive resources of the Museum's library for research, and serve as tour guides. Many marriages take place in the Christopher Wren church, a light-filled sanctuary where the poet John Milton was married and where Shakespeare may have worshipped. Most of all, the Museum symbolizes the philosophy upon which the college was founded in 1851. Westminster's reputation for academic excellence begins with the belief that "a freed mind is the chief object of education," an idea vigorously applauded by Sir Winston Churchill.

Other world leaders who have followed in Churchill's footsteps and journeyed here to speak at the Museum include: Presidents Reagan, Ford, and Bush; British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher; Polish President Lech Walesa; and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev who, fittingly, gave a speech announcing the end of the Cold War and marking the fall of what Churchill had named, "The Iron Curtain."

"From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent..."

Mission

The Mission of The National Churchill Museum at Westminster College is to develop plans, implement programs, provide facilities, and contribute resources which will commemorate and celebrate the distinguished life and career of Sir Winston S. Churchill, thereby supporting, enhancing, and bringing to reality the college’s mission of educating leaders of character for a lifetime of success, significance, and service. The National Churchill Museum will, therefore, support in every way possible the education and inspiration of all Westminster students through the College’s broad, liberal arts education and help it provide a high quality developmental experience so that each graduate is a Leader of Character, committed to the values of Integrity, Fairness, Respect and Responsibility and prepared to live a life of success, significance, and service.

History

Wishing to commemorate Winston Churchill's visit to Fulton in 1946 while filling the void of an adequate campus church facility, Westminster began its reconstruction of Christopher Wren's Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury in the spring of 1964 as the Winston Churchill Memorial and Library. [In 2009, the Memorial received a congressional designation as the National Churchill Museum.] Fittingly, former United States President Harry S Truman, former Westminster President Franc L. McCluer and the other living members of the 1946 platform party joined British Ambassador Lord Harlech for the Memorial's groundbreaking ceremony that year.

Although Westminster's Board of Trustees had determined the College would construct the Memorial at the site of the old West School on the comer of Seventh and Westminster, it seemed more appropriate to have the ceremony near the College's historic Columns. With a collection of the church's outer stones, flown in from London for the occasion, piled beside him, President Truman turned the symbolic first shovel for the reconstruction on April 19, 1964.

After nearly five years of construction of what the London Times called "perhaps the biggest jigsaw puzzle in the history of architecture," dedication ceremonies for the Memorial were held on May 7, 1969. Following a parade led by 41 bagpipers from the St. Andrews Society of Kansas City and a luncheon catered by Vincent Sardi of New York, the official dedication ceremonies began within the Church of St. Mary. In a meaningful and highly ritualistic ceremony, the Right Rev. Anthony Tremlett, the Bishop of Dover, England, rehallowed the Church as a place of worship.

With this act completed, the platform party, Churchill fellows, faculty, trustees and other invited guests proceeded outside where a crowd of 10,000 waited on Westminster Avenue and along Seventh Street. Former British Ambassador Averill Harriman and the Earl Mountbatten of Burma, a member of the Royal Family and the Queen's representative, gave the principal addresses, both reminiscing about their experiences with Churchill and his importance to world history. Special guests at the event included Mrs. Christopher Soames, Churchill's youngest daughter and the wife of the British ambassador to France, and her son Nicholas; John Freeman, the British ambassador to the United States; and former Missouri Governor John M. Dalton, who had headed the committee responsible for raising the funds for the Memorial. The ceremonies concluded with a benediction by the Rev. Dr. William B. Huntley Jr., college chaplain.

Artifact Collections

The Museum’s collection is a jewel for military and British historians and comprises many one-of-a-kind artifacts. Historians interested in the life and times of Sir Winston Churchill could not find a better place in America to conduct their studies, according to Barry R. Bauman who completed a general survey of the Museum in 2008 (www.baumanconservation.com). The collection includes over 10,000 library and archival materials. There are also thousands of photographs, several hundred prints and drawings, and approx. 1,000 three-dimensional objects.

  • The greatest strength of the holdings is the interrelationships within the various sections of the collection. The collection also includes lesser numbers of paintings and textiles, primarily uniforms. Some of the collection is used in hands-on educational
  • The Churchill primary documents consisting of photographs and letters are excellent source materials for research in the late personal life of Churchill and his family members. Other collection materials include hundreds of original war posters, newspapers
  • The Winston Churchill Memorial and Library contains 1,322 volumes pertaining to Churchill and is rated as excellent holdings of secondary source materials. Carlo D’Este, author of Warlord: The Live of Winston Churchill at War, began here as his starting po
  • Research Collections

    1. Newspapers and newspaper clippings: Winston S. Churchill, Winston Churchill Memorial and Library, National Churchill Museum, and Church
    2. Photographs: Churchill and family members; Church on site in London and Fulton; Church repair and reconstruction; Museum and related events
    3. Papers: Churchill personal correspondence; Harry Vaughan, Military Aide to President Harry S Truman private papers; Church transfer letters and invoices from London to Fulton; Memorial establishment and events; regional historical documents
    4. Posters: US and international war posters from World War I and II
    5. Prints and paintings: paintings and drawings by Churchill and his family including significant drawings of Churchill’s funeral; paintings, prints and drawing by other international artists
    6. Video and audio tapes: Churchill and Museum

    Educational Programs

    The National Churchill Museum is a center for hands-on, innovative learning for teachers and students. We provide a place for students to come and learn about themselves and their lives through Churchill, making history relevant to their present and future. Students from 4th-12th grades will experience three themes representative of Churchill: his life and times, his wit and wisdom, and his leadership.

    • Education Programs: - Annual Teacher Seminar - Annual Student Essay Contest - Annual Educator Open House - Classroom Programs - Outreach Programs - Fun & Games for the Classroom - Museum Experience Tours - Additional Churchill Resources for Kids
    • Public Programs: - Children's Program - Community Learning Program - Film Screenings - Wit & Wisdom Speaker Series - Annual Kemper Lecture - Annual Victorian Christmas Fundraiser Sale - Other Special Events throughout the year
    Library

    Access: General Public, Students, Scholars, Members

    Appointment required: Yes

    Publications

    - Quarterly "Churchillian"
    - Annual Calendar of Events
    - Monthly E-newsletters: Bits & Pieces, Education News, & Winston Churchill Kids Club
    - Social Media: Facebook, Twitter

    ADA

    Wheelchair Accessible

    Services

    Gift Shop

    Special Event Rental

    Group Tours

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