Next Presentation 

The Lexington Veterans’ Association under the auspices of the Friends of the COA will present their monthly program on Tuesday, Oct 9, 2018, at 1:15P.M., in the lower level meeting room at the Cary Memorial Library. 1875 Massachusetts Avenue. Open free to the public, come and enjoy coffee and refreshments along with friends and fellow veterans at 12:45 P.M. followed by our program at 1:15P.M.

Library Web Page



The International Museum of World War II – Iconic Artifacts and Personal Stories

Sue Wilkins, Director of Education

Tuesday, October 9, 2018 (note, Museum is closed on Monday October 8)

Step into the International Museum of World War II and you will be transported back to  the early 1940’s and the height of World War II. The museum, located just off Route 9 in Natick, contains a treasure trove of original artifacts personally collected over the past 60 years by founder Kenneth Rendell.

Sue Wilkins, Director of Education, will bring history alive with a virtual tour of the museum, concentrating on some iconic artifacts and personal stories that bring the war to a deeply personal level.  Items include handwritten letters by General Dwight Eisenhower and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, flyers from a brave German college student who opposed the Nazis and paid for this with her life; and much more.

The museum is the brainchild of Kenneth Rendell.  A dealer of rare letters and manuscripts, he realized in his travels in post-war Europe that people were beginning to throw away their mementos and possessions related to World War II.  “He just felt it was a terrible shame to let these precious pieces of history be discarded, and collecting just came naturally to him,” says Wilkins. “Today our collection totals more than half a million pieces.  The items on display represent about 5 percent of our total collection.”

The museum is open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays.  On other days, the staff works with students and teachers from more than 50 school systems throughout New England.  Ken Rendell, originally from Somerville, is committed to making this museum experience affordable to as many children as possible.  About one third of students receive some form of museum subsidy to cover bus transportation or admission fee.

The museum has completed a successful capital campaign to fund a new building next door to their current location to provide much-needed exhibit space along with amenities such as a café and gift shop.  The planning phase will continue for several more years.

Sue Wilkins earned a BA from Harvard in 1986 and an MA from Northwestern in 1991. She taught high school history for 20 years and trained teachers as well. She has launched several new initiatives at the museum, including an outreach effort to the senior community where the seniors use the museum’s collections of stories and art as models, then write their own memoir or create their own art; a collaboration with PBS offering 4 free interactive lessons to teachers and students that has attracted 2 million subscribers; and live webinars for home schoolers or students living at a distance.