Wende Museum To Open The World's Largest Cold War Visual Archive In Historic Armory Building In Culver City, California
The Wende Museum's archive of 100,000 artifacts and artworks from the Cold War era-the largest and most diverse collection of its kind in the world-will open summer 2014 in a new permanent home at the former National Guard Armory building in Culver City, California.
The Wende's 75-year lease of the Culver City-owned Armory-a 1950 Cold War modernist structure-will be renovated in three phases, including a future addition of 20,000 square feet of storage and exhibition space on the one-acre property.
The Wende was founded in 2002 by cultural historian Justinian Jampol to preserve the material culture of Cold War Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union-particularly East Germany-that quickly disappeared with the toppling of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The Museum's holdings are currently housed in three Southern California warehouses with public access limited to 1% of the collection.
"The Wende collection is unparalleled," said Benedikt Taschen, the CEO and Founder of TASCHEN, who will publish an 800-page book on The Wende's East German collections in 2013.
The Wende Museum's collections and programs provide insight into the Cold War's socio-political realities and the personal histories of its populace. In addition to remnants of Checkpoint Charlie and the world's longest stretch of the originAl Berlin Wall in the United States, the collection includes paintings, photographs, posters, and films; experimental furniture and applied arts; decorative ceramics and sculptures; clothing, textiles, and tapestries; flags, banners and signs; books, scrapbooks, newspapers and magazines; and extensive East German and Soviet surveillance and communications equipment.
Highlights from the collection include a ten-foot bronze sculpture of Lenin by the preeminent Russian artist Pavel Bondarenko, a complete set of the East German newspaper Neues Deutschland, and the personal papers, notes, and the Moabit prison manuscript of Erich Honecker, the notorious leader of East Germany.