Wende Museum

Los Angeles

Newly housed in the former National Guard Armory, this under-the-radar museum stands out for its vast, yet niche collection. German for 'turning point', Wende collects anything and everything made, bought, sold and created in Soviet Bloc countries from the end of WWII to the fall of the Berlin Wall. It's the brainchild of Oxford grad Justin Jampol, who has produced two documentary films on the Cold War, as well as urban art programs, including The Wall Project.

Saving countless films, photographs and artifacts from incinerators and garbage dumps, his collection reveals how typical Germans lived behind the wall. If that sounds dry to you, don't worry, it's anything but. He's revealed the strange world of the Soviet hippie, now owns an extensive East German film archive, and has over 100,000 pieces all told, including a wonderful Lenin bust painted pink and turquoise by a 1980s street artist.

Guided tours of the museum are available; see the website for details.

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