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Culver City’s Cold War-focused Wende Museum to reopen in November in revamped National Guard Armory

The free museum will be housed in a revamped National Guard Armory

Courtesy of Wende Museum

Housed for more than a decade an office park, Culver City’s Wende Museum—a repository of incredible Cold War-era artifacts from the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe—is finally growing into a new, higher-profile headquarters.

Many Angelenos might not be recognize the museum by name, but they are likely familiar with the giant hunk of the Berlin Wall in Miracle Mile—an installation made possible by the Wende.

The museum’s mission is to preserve Cold War-era history as a way to learn from the past and understand how it continues to impact the present. Justinian A. Jampol, the founder and executive director of the Wende Museum, told the New York Times last year that the Wende has acquired pieces of its collections from “Communist perpetrators of injustice and from victims who acquired mementos as a form of therapy.”

Jampol explained that “a lot of these artifacts are fraught,” but that losing the evidence of this time and these figures “would be the biggest tragedy of all.”

Part of the Berlin Wall made it to Los Angeles.

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The Wende Museum broke ground late last year on its new headquarters, a 1949 National Guard Armory Building in Culver City.

Jampol told the Times that the space still has its original Cold War fallout shelters intact. Those shelters will be preserved and remain visible to the public.

The one-acre campus will provide 13,000 square-feet of space for both exhibition and museum storage. An announcement from the Wende says that arty publisher Benedikt Taschen, designer Michael Boyd, and architect Christian Kienapfel of PARAVANT all gave input into the design of the new museum space.

The Wende (pronounced “venda”) will reopen in its new home with a paid reception on November 18 and a free opening on November 19.

Its inaugural exhibit in the new building, “Cold War Spaces,” will “explore private, work, border, secret, outer, utopian, and changing spaces of socialist cultures” through such pieces as a 1970 poster of a Soviet moon rover and a “top-secret” map of Berlin intended for use in the event of an East German occupation of West Berlin.

After opening, the Wende’s new location will be open to the public Wednesdays through Sundays. Admission to the museum will be free.