Rare Hallmark Exhibit on Display at National Churchill Museum Adds to Winston Churchill Tour for Travelers and History Buffs

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This January, travelers and history enthusiasts will find rare Winston Churchill artifacts on display for a limited time at the National Churchill Museum at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo. Given to the museum by Joyce Hall, founder of Hallmark Cards, and The Hall Foundation, the collection will be on public display beginning on Jan. 16 and may be viewed through March 8, 2013.

Bleinheim Palace, birthplace of Winston Churchill

A model of Blenheim Palace, originally commissioned by Joyce Hall for the New York World’s Fair, is a part of the new Hallmark exhibition at the National Churchill Museum in Fulton, Mo.

“We are quite excited that our Museum archivist is putting together this exhibition of Churchill artifacts,” says Dr. Rob Havers, Executive Director of the Museum. “Many of the items have not been on view to the general public for years.”

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Rare items given to the National Churchill Museum at Westminster College in Fulton, MO by Joyce Hall, founder of Hallmark Cards, and The Hall Foundation will be on public display in a collection for the first time in the Museum’s history.

The exhibit opens Jan. 16 and may be viewed through March 8, 2013.

“We are quite excited that our Museum archivist is putting together this exhibition of Churchill artifacts,” says Dr. Rob Havers, Executive Director of the Museum. “Many of the items have not been on view to the general public for years.”

The first is a scale model of Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Churchill, and its grounds that was commissioned by Joyce Hall for the Churchill Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair and given to the Museum. The model is fully wired and contained such detailed work as the small statuary work in the gardens surrounding the Palace.

Blenheim Palace is one of England’s largest houses and was built in the early 18th century. This country house, located in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England, was the home of the dukes of Marlborough.

The second part of the exhibit is several iconic political cartoons depicting Churchill. These were donated for the original Museum permanent exhibition in the 1970s and have been in archives for a number of years.

The third aspect of the exhibit is the only set of John Churchill funerary paintings which tell the story of Winston Churchill’s funeral process from start to finish. These paintings were originally loaned to the Museum to commemorate the anniversary of Churchill’s funeral and were later gifted to the Museum by the Hall Family Foundation.

John Churchill, an artist and sculptor, was the son of John Strange Spencer-Churchill and the nephew of Winston Churchill. His family and he lived with the Churchill’s at Chart well for a brief period of time.

Joyce Hall, who started the Hallmark Cards business with a shoebox full of cards out of his rented YMCA room in Kansas City, was a longtime friend of Winston Churchill. His association began when he and his son Don attended the “Iron Curtain” speech at Westminster in 1946 and met Churchill at a reception. He published several series of Hallmark Christmas cards using Churchill’s paintings as the backdrop. He hired Churchill’s daughter Sarah to work on television’s Hallmark Hall of Fame, which televised an hour long program entitled “The Other World of Winston Churchill.”

As someone who was in the business of selling ideas, Joyce Hall said Churchill “was one of the greatest salesmen who ever lived. He sold the free world on arming itself—probably the most important selling job ever accomplished.”

With his wife Elizabeth and son Don, Joyce Hall visited Churchill at his family estate Chartwell in June 1950. He was instrumental in convincing Churchill to exhibit his paintings and conceived and sponsored a showing at the Nelson Art Gallery in Kansas City in 1958. He also owned a notable collection of Sir Winston’s paintings.

When the original Winston Churchill Memorial and Library at Westminster was conceived, Joyce Hall was a primary organizer and served as Co-Chair of the project along with Henry Luce of Time-Life.

Hall flew to London to attend Churchill’s funeral with former President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1965. Hallmark also published a book of Churchill quotes, Never Give In! The Challenging Words of Winston Churchill.

The National Churchill Museum on the campus of Westminster College in Fulton, MO is the only North American institution fully devoted to immortalizing the life and work of Churchill. The heart of the Museum is the magnificent Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury, a 17th century Christopher Wren church left in ruin from German bombings during World War II. This beautiful house of worship was brought stone by stone from England to Westminster and restored on campus in 1969.

Beneath the Church is a state-of-the-art Museum that combines interactive technology to tell Churchill’s story through sight, sound and touch. In 2006, Chris Matthews, MSNBC commentator, was present at the opening of this new $4 million exhibition and said its ability to bring history to life in a dynamic, stimulating fashion was incredible and that it rivaled that of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.

Adjacent to the National Churchill Museum stands a sculpture by Edwina Sandys, Churchill’s granddaughter, entitled “Breakthrough,” which was constructed from eight sections of the Berlin Wall to commemorate the demise of the “Iron Curtain” that Sir Winston had predicted. Visitors may also enjoy the historic gymnasium where Churchill delivered his world famous “Iron Curtain Speech” in 1946 on another part of campus.

The National Churchill Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and every first Thursday of the month observes extended hours until 7 p.m. Regular admission prices are Adults-$6, Seniors-$5, College Students and Youth-$4, Children (6-11)-$3, and Children (5 and under)-free. For more information about the National Churchill Museum, visit http://www.nationalchurchillmuseum.org.

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