Saturday, September 27, 2014

Anglophile Trap in Missouri

Yesterday, Mom and I went to the National Churchill Museum, in the basement of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury, designed by Christopher Wren.

No, we did not travel to London yesterday.  We were in small-town Fulton, Missouri, at Westminster College.

The back roads are not the only opportunity for finding random historical sites and curiosities - we were on I-70 when we saw the sign and pulled over at the visitor's center to see if it would be worth the 7-mile drive out of our way to Fulton.

It was.

First let me explain about the church.

The original church burned down in the Great Fire of London in 1666; the Christopher Wren design replaced it.  In 1940, it was struck in the London Blitz and gutted; only the foundation and walls remained.  In 1946, Winston Churchill visited Westminster College and gave his famous "Iron Curtain" speech; the college decided to commemorate his visit by moving the remains of the church from London, England to Fulton, Missouri.  300 years after the Great Fire of London, reconstruction began in Fulton.

And that's how an old London church came to the US.

Photo by Penny Lulich

And now for the Churchill museum.

Located in the basement of the church, on a small campus in a small town in the middle of the US, you've probably never heard of it.  Doesn't sound like much.

But it is.

I was very pleasantly surprised - it's really an excellent museum.  Lots of text, lots of photos, lots of audio-visual displays; very high quality, and much larger than it looks from outside.*

In addition to the Churchill museum, the basement currently houses the Smithsonian's traveling Mail Call exhibit, which we unfortunately did not have time to see (I didn't even finish the Churchill Museum itself!).

Seriously, if you're going to visit this place, give yourself an entire day.

What about the Gift Shop?  (I like a little shop.)  They've got Churchill and historic church paraphernalia, of course.  Then there's your random British stuff: Union Jack notebooks, Keep Calm and Carry On trinkets, tea things, boxes of PG Tips (which is what I drink), and so on.

And then there's your British pop-culture gear; Harry Potter house scarves, etc.  And right at the entrance to the shop, a nice big, blue display of Doctor Who** merchandise.  Made me giggle just to see it.  It wasn't the biggest assortment I've ever seen, but they had the basics, as well as several Doctor Who novels - they make Doctor Who novels!

I didn't buy any DW stuff (mainly because we had to leave), but I am currently sitting at the Topeka, Kansas Barnes and Noble debating on a Desktop Patrol Dalek.

What can I say?  I'm a fan.  And I'm a writer!  And I'm available for work - have TARDIS,^ will travel!  Just sayin'.

Mr. Moffat...?

*It's bigger on the inside!!
**Finally watched Time Heist.  Ocean's Eleven meets Doctor Who - what could possibly go wrong?  >>>Hinting Spoiler<<<  You know...other than me figuring out who The Architect was early on. And also why they were there significantly before the reveal.  *sigh*  But it was a lovely romp!
^Yes, I do.  It's blue, it's bigger on the inside, and it takes me through Time and Space (sort of).  It's my 2008 Jeep Liberty, and it's called the TARDIS.  That's right.

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