By Dan Moulton
A dozen members of the Boston Athenaeum WW II Discussion Group has the opportunity to visit Ken Rendell’s private World War II Museum in Natick, Massachusetts on September 25, 2010. Six in the group are Churchillians.
Our visit to the Mr. Rendell’s WW II Museum was a truly memorable experience. When you approach the museum building itself the façade, concrete building with two American Flags for decoration, gives no hint of the wealth of material exhibited within, the diversity of the collection quickly becomes evident. Communications equipment and apparatus, armaments, uniforms, flags, posters, personal effects that belonged to key figures in WWII as well as war related items produced during this time period, newspaper clippings, and other documents are just a few of the categories of material on display. There are life-size, specially fabricated mannequins of Churchill, Hitler, and Montgomery, a number of vehicles, including an impressive and restored WWII tank. You discover many unique items such as Allied parachutes with their foot-high fiber “soldier” dummies released in the sky as part of disinformation programs. Every room in the museum is chocked full of interesting material. Not to be missed are the restrooms, which are lined with WWII posters. There is so much material here that you are encouraged to come back and find all those things you missed the first, second, or third time. The museum’s holdings are extensive and the entire collection cannot be displayed at any one time the collection is rotated in an out of storage. Each subsequent visit may reveal new items in the exhibits Ken Rendell has published a pop-up companion book entitled “World War II”, subtitled “Saving the Reality” and further, “A Collector’s Vault”, this is a must have for WW II devotees and quite aptly describes the museum itself.
You can visit the museum’s website here.