Wednesday, September 26, 2012


When Hubby Tony and I made our trip to Columbia Missouri last weekend, we left the house early on Friday so we could see something that's been on my list of attractions to visit for a long time. I can now say I've been to the National Churchill Museum on the campus of Westminster College in Fulton.

Churchill Museum
How, you might ask, did a museum honoring an British statesman come to be opened on the campus of a small liberal arts college in a small town in the middle of Missouri?  It's because in 1946, Winston Churchill delivered his "Sinews of Peace" (also known as the "Iron Curtain" speech) at Westminster, which marked the beginning of the Cold War.

The story of how Churchill came to Fulton is fascinating. He accepted the opportunity to speak because the college president passed the invitation on to a Westminster graduate who worked for President Truman (who was a native of Missouri). Truman added his personal note at the bottom of the invitation offering to introduce Churchill, and it was accepted.

Fulton was only 15 minutes off Interstate 70, and easy to find.  Once we got there I wasn't sure what to look for, but we followed the signs and found the museum complex tucked right into the college campus.  The first thing you see is the Church of St. Mary, Aldermanbury, which has an interesting history.  It dates from the 12th century, was destroyed during the Great Fire of London, and redesigned by Christopher Wren.  That building was damaged during the London Blitz of World War II.  In the 1960s it was moved stone by stone and reconstructed on the Westminster campus.

The museum is located beneath the church, and tells the story of Churchill's life.  You walk from room to room, where the information is organized chronologically.  I especially enjoyed the  "Blitz" room; which had background sounds from a London air raid. When we were finished in the museum, we walked up a winding staircase to the church building, which now serves as the College’s chapel. The church's interior features had been beautifully restored.  There was also a nice collection of vestments and related items on display in the back.

When we left the building we stopped by the "Breakthrough" sculpture outside the church, which is formed from eight sections of the Berlin Wall by Edwina Sandys, the granddaughter of Winston Churchill.  In the plaza behind the sculpture there was a student event going on.  A band was setting up, and one of the tents featured life size cardboard cutouts of President Obama and Mitt Romney.  Somehow that seemed appropriate.


  1. Well cool! I'll put that on my to-see list!

  2. WOW. Winston Churchill is a hero, and I knew he delivered his Iron Curtain speech in this country, but never made the connection to the location of the college.

  3. I had no idea it was there. One of these days, I'd love to see it too. We did see his birthplace, Blenheim Palace in England which was pretty amazing too.

  4. If you're interested in the full story of how Churchill ended up in Fulton, the man who brought him there and the impact on the town, check out my book Our Supreme Task:

    I'd be happy to oblige anyone who'd like a signed copy - just e-mail me at

    Philip White