In 1946, Westminster College President Franc McCluer and President Harry S. Truman invited former Prime Minister Winston Churchill to the quaint town of Fulton where he delivered his famous "Iron Curtain" speech, announcing the beginning of the Cold War.
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of Churchill's visit, the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury, designed by acclaimed English architect Sir Christopher Wren, was moved from London to Fulton. The structure – built during the 17th century and severely damaged during World War II – was dismantled and shipped stone by stone to the grounds of Westminster College where it was reconstructed and restored. Today, the breathtaking church sits atop America's National Churchill Museum.
The museum will mark its 50th anniversary this year with a celebration May 3-9. Members of the Churchill family and dignitaries from around the world will gather in Fulton for a weekend of extraordinary exhibitions and events during Churchill Fellows Weekend.
The Saturday afternoon parade will trace the route Churchill and Truman took when they arrived in Fulton and include U.S. military bands, high school bands, a pipe and drum corps, historic military vehicles and more.
The celebration also will feature lectures about Churchill and exhibits of paintings by the former prime minister and former presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and George W. Bush, who were inspired by Churchill to take up painting.
During Churchill's historic speech, also known as the "Sinews of Peace," he coined the phrase, "special relationship," referring to the alliance between Great Britain and the United States.
As part of this year's commemoration, the Churchill Museum provided all Mid-Missouri K-12 school students a six-by-six inch canvas on which to paint their interpretation of the concept special relationship.
More than 4,000 unique designs – each accompanied by a brief artist statement – were submitted, numbered, documented digitally on a special website and installed in the National Churchill Museum. Students and their families were invited to visit the museum, free of charge, to view the art exhibit. The display can be viewed through Sept. 22 and is free with museum admission.
Written by Amanda Long