Celebrating Winston Churchill

1 decade 10 months 15 hours ago Monday, November 19 2007 Nov 19, 2007 Monday, November 19, 2007 7:35:22 AM CST November 19, 2007 in News

"The Winston Churchill Memorial and Library here at Westminster College in Fulton is the only museum solely dedicated to the life and legacy of Winston Churchill," said John Hensley, museum curator and archivist.

March 3-5 marks the 60th anniversary celebration of Churchill's famous "Iron Curtain" speech at the college. The reopening of the renovated museum is included in the weekend's activities.

"This new one makes the most of new technology, of sight, sound and touch," explained Executive Director Rob Havers, "to bring Churchill alive in the 21st century, in a way that previously wasn't possible."

The museum's directors started planning the reopening five years ago because they thought the old exhibits needed rejuvenation. The Churchill Memorial includes the museum and the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin.

After the church survived two fires and German bombardment in London during World War II, crews transported it to Westminster and rebuilt the structure, brick by brick, in 1964.

"The memorial has made a tremendous contribution to the college throughout its history," said Barney Forsythe, Westminster spokesman. "We see the revitalized memorial bringing people to Westminster College and Fulton to learn about Churchill's legacy."

That legacy in mid-Missouri began when then-President Harry Truman invited Churchill to speak at the college. The result was the former British Prime Minister's historic speech about an iron curtain of communism descending upon Eastern Europe after the Allied victory in WW II.

"The community has been meeting with Westminster, and we have a small committee that has talked about what happened 60 years ago," said Nancy Lewis of the Chamber of Commerce. "We have people on the committee that were here 60 years ago."

The weekend begins at 4:00 p.m. Friday, at a student forum with the Churchill family in Champ Auditorium.

Saturday's events include a 10:30 a.m. motorcade through downtown Fulton, a community lunch starting at 11:00 a.m., an 11:30 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony, and a 6:00 p.m. formal celebration featuring MSNBC's Chris Matthews.

The weekend concludes with a 10:30 a.m. Sunday church service.

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