Photographs and other memorabilia from the Eureka College Ronald Reagan Museum are on display at the National Churchill Museum at Westminster College, Fulton, Mo. The “Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher: Their Special Relationship” exhibit runs Jan. 13–March 9.
The exhibit was inspired by James Cooper, a Fulbright Scholar at Westminster College last year. Cooper wrote a book exploring the relationship between Reagan and Thatcher and the impact they had on the political landscapes in their respective countries in regard to domestic and foreign policies. He also developed the text for the exhibit, according to Churchill Museum Director of Development Kit Freudenberg.
Cooper spoke at Eureka College on June 5 at a memorial service marking the ninth anniversary of Reagan’s death.
In addition to Cooper’s work, the museum created the exhibit to recognize the connection the two former world leaders had with Westminster College, Freudenberg said. Reagan spoke at the school during the dedication of the Breakthrough sculpture in 1990, and Thatcher gave the Green Lecture in 1996.
“The third tie-in is that Westminster College plays Eureka College in athletics, and every time the teams come to Westminster the coaches have the players go through the museum,” Freudenberg said, noting that National Churchill Museum staff visited the Ronald Reagan Museum on the Eureka campus in April.
Items on loan from the Reagan Museum are a replica of Reagan’s boyhood home in Dixon constructed and donated by Don Lewis of Dixon; several portraits of Reagan; a “Hellcats of the Navy” film poster and lobby cards; and Reagan’s cowboy boots.
“This exhibit helps to secure Eureka College’s rightful place in Reagan’s Midwest connection,” said Reagan Museum Curator Anthony Glass. “Visitors from all over the country will see the Eureka name featured prominently alongside the Reagan Presidential Museum and Library in Simi Valley, Calif., and other lending institutions. Moreover, our participation strengthens our connection with Westminster College, which as the site of Churchill’s ‘Iron Curtain Speech’ represents the start of the Cold War to which Reagan helped bring about an end. That these two sites should exist so close together, in the Midwest no less, is a curious confluence of history and fate,” Glass said.
Other items in the exhibit include the suit Reagan wore in the movie “King’s Row” on loan from the Kingdom of Callaway Chamber of Commerce.