The Arcadia Fund empowers the Wende Museum with three transformative grants

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This photograph is from the Vevonilka Voloshina Collection, part of a larger assemblage relating to the Soviet hippie movement of the 1970s. The Wende Museum has acquired the personal archives of several prominent Soviet hippies, which include photos, clothing, and memorabilia that would otherwise have been lost forever. With the generous support of Arcadia, these materials will be digitized and accessible on the Wende Museum’s online collection. Photo courtesy of Wende Museum

The Wende Museum is the grateful recipient of three transformative grants from Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, to ensure the worldwide, long-term impact of the museum’s collection. These resources—including the lead gift to establish a Wende Museum endowment fund—will increase the Wende’s capacity to acquire, preserve, and provide open access in perpetuity to historical materials that would otherwise be at risk of neglect, disappearance, and destruction.

With a pledge of $7.5 million in matching funds to establish a Wende Museum endowment, Arcadia has taken a leading role in securing the institution’s financial sustainability at a time when museums around the globe face dire circumstances. When fully funded, the endowment will ensure that the museum’s collection will remain protected and accessible for all time, while allowing the museum to focus on imaginative programming and engagement during the unprecedented times ahead.

A three-year grant in the amount of $750,000 for acquisitions and collections management will aid the Wende in expanding its collection of at-risk materials from the Cold War era so that current and future generations can investigate and learn from this period and its vanishing culture. The grant will support new additions to the collection, as well as essential activities such as conservation and cataloging, to permanently protect endangered objects and archives, facilitating scholarship, reflection, and broad understanding of how the past determines the present and shapes the world to come.

A timely grant of $450,000 over three years will support the crucial expansion of the Wende’s Online Collections, exponentially increasing virtual access to the Wende collection for scholars and the international public. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that virtual visitation is a quintessential part of the museum experience to come, and Arcadia’s digitization grant supports the hiring of a Digitization Project Manager, the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment, and substantial expansion of the website (www.wendemuseum.org). More than 50,000 pages of material from six of the Wende’s archival collections—ranging from documents of the Soviet hippies to recently donated records from the Polish Solidarity movement—will be made freely accessible online. An additional 1,000 items from the museum’s collection will be added to the Online Collections each year.

Arcadia has been the backbone of the Wende Museum since 2004. The foundation provided the museum’s first major grant, which enabled the Wende to grow from a small grassroots organization into an effective and impactful non-profit institution. Arcadia has supported the museum’s expansion at every step of the way, delivering the resources to build the Wende collection with a 10-year commitment of $10 million, a million dollars a year from 2008 to 2018. Now, in the midst of an era-defining moment for museums, Arcadia has once again supplied the infrastructure and catalyzed the Wende to augment the experience of historic collections and exhibitions for a new generation and generations to come.

“The Wende Museum would not exist without Arcadia’s encouragement and dedication,” said founder and executive director Justinian Jampol. “Inspired by a vision of preserving and providing access to historical material, Arcadia has empowered the Wende to build its unparalleled collection as a direct result of its visionary gifts, totaling more than $13 million. With Arcadia’s sustained support, the Wende Museum has grown from a fledgling idea into a vast archive of culture available for all.”

On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff, Jampol expresses his utmost gratitude: “Because of the Arcadia Fund’s generosity and extraordinary vision, the Wende Museum will embark on numerous programs that will reach the entire globe. We are thrilled to have this opportunity to partner with Arcadia once more in making a meaningful and permanent contribution to our shared knowledge of Cold War history.”