The Wende Museum is dedicated to preserving historical objects from behind the iron curtain which are related to the cold war.
This place is such a hidden gem it is really a trip.
First, it is located in an industrial office park off of Slausun on the LAX side of Baldwin Hills.
You do know you hit the right spot when you see the colorful large chunk of the Berlin Wall outside. In fact they have the largest amount of the Berlin Wall outside of Berlin.
The museum is upstairs and prepare to knock on the door of what appears to be any old office.
As you enter you see the top floor is taken up by offices and some fine art work sampling the collection in the vault which is the real treat.
It is interesting to note that the chairs in the main room are actually the chairs used by the East German SED or ruling party during the cold war.
Along with the dance floor they sit on almost everything is from East Berlin but they are starting to branch out into other Soviet occupied states.
Everything upstairs is worth seeing but you must schedule a tour or show up on Friday at 3pm so when you don’t need reservations for a tour of the archives.
Basically they are still amassing an amazing collection of cold war artifacts so they are busy cataloguing indexing and storing stuff all the time.
While it has no museum feel to it, the archive and the tour is really cool.
They actually have the sign from the famous East German/West German Border known as Checkpoint Charlie.
There is way too much to describe in a post so I’ll tell you a few cool things you can expect to see.
The jacket you see in the pictures was lined inside with velvet and a drawing was made on the inside of the kerchief so as not to appear fancy yet the wearer could enjoy a little individuality.
The attaché and luggage is all filled with spy equipment which belonged to East German spies.
The top one has everything you need to make false passports, the second has recording equipment and the big one has a radio transmitter.
To preserve a slice of regular non-spook life behind the iron curtain the Wende Museum has a complete collection of the East Berlin newspapers and many magazines, ads, paintings, films, flags, street sign etc.
At the end of the tour check out the check point interactive display. Almost everything was taken from an East German checkpoint.
It is set up to have fun. For example they have a poster used to train guards in spotting people posing as others. Basically they show a series of people who look alike and you must figure out who is the same person and who is an imposter.
Another very interesting document they have was discovered while going through the cabinet from the East German checkpoint. The guy assigned to the station was writing his report right when the wall fell. He realized there was no point finishing the report, so the document marks the exact moment the cold war ended.
The archive is doing a great job of preserving history of all aspects of life behind the iron curtain. They have everything from furniture to cobblestones.
I saved the best part for last. This is a free archive which is available to the public. Looking at the locker display upstairs, a watch caught my eye and since I am somewhat of a watch geek I’m going to send in a request for an appointment to see any watches, clocks or magazines which may show ads or pictures of watches.
The Wende museum is very accommodating to almost anyone with an interest in their collection.