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Culver City approves Cold War museum's lease for new home

PHOTOS: Cold War museum

Culver City’s Wende Museum, a haven of Cold War artifacts, just found a new home—a former National Guard armory built during the age of U.S. and Soviet tensions.

The Culver City City Council voted unanimously this week to approve a 75-year lease with the Cold War museum, currently located in a Culver City business park near Holy Cross Cemetery.

“It’s a big transformation for us to launch ahead and get to the next steps,” Wende Executive Director Justinian Jampol said.

PHOTOS: Cold War museum

Currently, fewer than 1% of Wende's more than 100,000 artifacts are available for public viewing at a time, Jampol said.

Wende’s new, bigger location—near Culver Boulevard and Overland Avenue—will allow the museum to be open to the public more days of the week and show off more of its collection, including 10 pieces of the Berlin Wall that rest along Wilshire Boulevard in the Miracle Mile, Jampol said.

The museum hopes to open at the armory during the middle of 2014. The Wende’s massive collection is varied, including large busts of communist heroes, Stasi surveillance equipment, Eastern Bloc food menus, embroidered flags and furniture from the former East Berlin's now-demolished Palace of the Republic.

The pieces encompass both communist and dissident works. Under the agreement, the Wende will pay $1 per year to lease the city-owned armory and must fund the renovations needed to turn the building, completed in 1950, into a museum.

It also must provide the public with at least one free admission day per month.

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-- Andrew Khouri

Photo: Assorted busts of deposed and deceased communist leaders and ideologues at the Cold War museum in Culver City. Credit: Patrick T. Fallon / For the Los Angeles Times.

 
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