Current Special Exhibitions


“Operation Hope Not”: The State Funeral of Sir Winston Churchill

Opens January 30, 2023

Winston Churchill died, at age 90, on January 24, 1965, putting into motion a meticulous plan for an historic State Funeral. The plan, which had been started more than a decade earlier, was code-named “Operation Hope Not” and was decreed by Queen Elizabeth II to be “on a scale befitting his position in history.”

This exhibition examines Sir Winston’s State Funeral, the largest in British history at the time, and the private internment for family at the Church at Bladon in Oxfordshire. It includes a series of rarely exhibited oil paintings by Churchill’s nephew, John Spencer-Churchill, and archival material from the Museum’s holdings along with material on loan from the Collection of Phillip and Susan Larson.

The exhibition is made possible by the Anson Cutts Endowment for America’s National Churchill Museum. Programming support for the exhibition is made possible by the Kostich Endowment for America’s National Churchill Museum.


Winston Churchill: A Passion for Painting

A self-proclaimed pastime painter, Winston Churchill did not put brush to canvas until the age of 40. Although he received no formal training as an artist, he pursued his hobby with characteristic passion, and it became a lifelong interest.

A 1920 essay, which later became the basis for his book Painting as a Pastime, serves as Churchill’s personal credo on the creative process and recounts the origins of his interest in painting. The essay describes how, in 1915, Churchill was pressured to resign his position as First Lord of the Admiralty following a disastrous campaign in the Battle of Gallipoli during World War I. "I had great anxiety and no means of relieving it," he wrote. With "long hours of unwonted leisure in which to contemplate the frightful unfolding of the war," he turned to painting as a means to clear his mind and relieve his stress — an antidote that served him throughout the remainder of his turbulent career.

A Passion for Painting brings together in one gallery for the first time all five of Churchill’s paintings and three drawings in the collection of, or on long-term loan to, America's National Churchill Museum. The exhibition is made possible, in part, by the Anson Cutts Fund.


Daughterly Knowledge: Mary Soames, Winston Churchill, and America's National Churchill Museum


Mary Soames, Baroness Soames, LG, DBE, FRSL (British, 1922-2014) was the youngest daughter of Clementine and Winston Churchill. A longtime member of the Board of Governors of the Association of the Churchill Fellows of Westminster College and Patron of the International Churchill Society, Lady Soames spoke and wrote frequently about her famous father’s legacy and life.

Daughterly Knowledge: Mary Soames, Winston Churchill and America’s National Churchill Museum brings together letters, photographs, and other objects from the Museum’s collection that explore her affectionate relationship with her father and her decades-long association with Westminster College and America’s National Churchill Museum.

The exhibit will open in the Museum's Clementine Spencer-Churchill Reading Room on October 7 and remain on view through December 31, 2022.

This exhibition is made possible, in part, by the Edwin Malloy Jr. Endowment for America’s National Churchill Museum.


Highlights from the Sandra L. and Monroe E. Trout Collection

This exhibition includes selected items from the collection of Churchill Fellows Sandra L. and Monroe E. Trout of Wisconsin. A recent gift to the Museum, The Trout Collection includes sculptures by Oscar Nemon, works by Sarah Churchill, and other items related to Winston Churchill assembled over the course of several decades. The exhibition is on view in the Sandra L. and Monroe E. Trout, Sr. of Wisconsin Gallery. 


“Leave the past to history especially as I propose to write that history myself.”

Winston S. Churchill