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Arts and Entertainment

Cold War-Focused Wende Museum To Reopen In November In Historic Culver City Armory

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The Wende Museum—which is responsible for bringing a section of the Berlin Wall to L.A.'s Miracle Mile—will open its new campus in November. The museum, which features artifacts and history from Cold War-era Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, was previously housed in a Culver City office park for 12 years. It will now operate out of the iconic Armory Building in Culver City, which has been reformatted for the museum's opening. The building was originally built in 1949 and still includes the Cold War fallout shelters.

The museum will kick off its reopening with Cold War Spaces, an exhibit that focuses on the physical effects of living under Communist rule in Eastern Europe. The show will feature objects like a top-secret map of Berlin when it was split into East and West, as well as bringing in art from current artists to shed light on how the Cold War still trickles into contemporary consciousness. Of the exhibit, chief curator Joes Segel said in a statement that, "[as] visitors move through the different spaces, they will be struck by the complexity and paradoxes of Cold War history."

The museum will be open from Wednesdays through Sundays, and admission is free. Opening day for the public is November 19.

If it seems odd to have a prominent museum about the Cold War in Los Angeles, a sunny American city far from Washington D.C. and the Soviet Union, it's time to refresh on a bit of Los Angeles history. The Hollywood Blacklist was a high-profile demonstration of censorship by the House Un-American Activities Community, which barred employment to screenwriters accused of being members of the U.S. Communist party. The 1984 Olympics were a big moment for Soviet/U.S. relations, and atomic bomb testing at a Nevada test range in the '50s could be seen in Los Angeles, providing the city with an early morning "atomic sunrise."

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At the end of the Cold War, many artifacts and emblems of life under Soviet rule were destroyed. Recent interest in showcasing the experiencing of living in that period has allowed for objects and memorabilia to resurface, noted the New York Times last year, and the Wende Museum will have the opportunity to shed even more light on the era in its new 13,000 square foot exhibition and storage space.

The Wende Museum is located at 10808 Culver Blvd., Culver City.

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