Collectors in Conversation: Justinian Jampol, The Wende Museum

Justin JampolJustinian Jampol, founder and executive director of The Wende, led an engaging discussion in the ongoing series “Collectors in Conversation” at The Allendale Branch Library.

Justin discussed how he came to establishThe Wende Museum that preserves the cultural artifacts and personal histories of Cold War-era Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union to inform and inspire a broad understanding of the period and its enduring legacy. The name Wende, in German, means "turning point," and refers broadly to the fall of communism in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. A native of Los Angeles, Jampol graduated from UCLA and later earned a doctorate in modern European history at Oxford University. In the 1990s, he began collecting cultural materials related to life behind the Iron Curtain that were being neglected or destroyed, including folk art, clothing, toys, scrapbooks, restaurant menus, postcards, home movies, surveillance equipment, busts of Stalin and Lenin, and chunks of the Berlin Wall. What began as a grassroots acquisition effort has now expanded into a museum and research institution consisting of more than 100,000 artifacts, an unparalleled educational resource for insight into the Eastern perspective of the Cold War.