Beacon of Resilience: Protect. Preserve. Persevere.

The following article appeared in the 2020 edition of Leadership magazine.

Bold. Resolute. Resilient. These words often are used to describe Winston Churchill and are apt descriptors of America’s National Churchill Museum. Despite the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Museum is finding new ways to conduct business while continuing to preserve and promote the legacy and leadership lessons of Winston Churchill.

 “Churchill This Day” Webcasts

Thousands across the globe have viewed a newly created “Churchill This Day” webcast series, launched in early April. The lineup of speakers includes eminent historians such as Andrew Roberts and Allen Packwood as well as military leaders such as Gen. David Petraeus and Admiral Michael T. Franken. History and Churchill are catalysts for important discussions on the Westminster College campus and beyond on timely topics such as leadership in adversity, national security, and global health.

Preservation Progress

The Museum and the historic Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury, will remain temporarily closed through the spring of 2021 to accelerate an additional $3.1 million worth of preservation work, interior renovations, and needed updates.

Since the successful 50th anniversary celebration in 2019, the Museum raised and invested $1.2 million into the preservation of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury. “The progress has been possible thanks to the generosity of so many who believe it wise to invest in the future of our historic building and site,” says Sandra L. and Monroe E. Trout Director and Chief Curator Timothy Riley.

The new construction includes interior renovations and specialized exterior preservation repairs to ensure the life of the Museum and historic church, which traces its roots to 12th-century London. The church was reconstructed on campus in the 1960s based on the original plans drawn by Sir Christopher Wren.

One essential construction project focuses on resolving stormwater drainage issues affecting the Museum.

“We have created a new and extensive underground drainage system to move stormwater away from the Museum, church, and adjacent monuments,” Riley explains. “This work has long been needed to prevent water from seeping into the Museum.”

The Museum’s interior renovations also include restroom updates, improvements to the Admissions area, and work in common spaces and exhibition galleries.

Riley says the overall goal of the project is to further preserve the facility to ensure future visitors continue to enjoy a safe and educational experience at the Museum, which is among Missouri’s leading tourist destinations.

Beacon of Resilience

Riley says that all of this work comes at a cost.

While renovations are investments in the future, the pandemic has resulted in overwhelming economic implications for the Museum and its ability to continue promoting and preserving Churchill’s legacy.

As a result, Riley encourages individuals to join an urgent fundraising effort by making a contribution to the Beacon of Resilience campaign. Members of the Museum’s Board of Governors have generously pledged $100,000 and will match 2:1 all gifts through Dec. 29, 2020.

Riley reflects thoughtfully, “The best investment in our future is to preserve our past.”

To give to the Beacon of Resilience campaign, please visit

75th Anniversary of “Iron Curtain” Speech

America’s National Churchill Museum will commemorate the 75th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech on March 5-6, 2021, when the world we be invited to a virtual commemoration, live from Westminster’s Historic Gymnasium and other Churchill-related sites on campus. Dignitaries, leaders, and members of the Churchill family will participate from all parts of the world and join the Westminster community for what promises to be a memorable celebration. For more details, please visit



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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.

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