On January 14th, Hoover Archives acquired its third piece of the Berlin Wall as a gift from donors Joan and Michael Green. As an iconic symbol of the fall of Communism, the piece of the Berlin Wall will enhance Hoover’s already strong holdings related to the Cold War and its aftermath. Currently, a segment of the Berlin Wall is on permanent display in L&A’s Herbert Hoover Memorial Exhibit Pavilion, while another is housed in the Radio Free Europe collection.
The most recently acquired piece of the Berlin Wall features the artwork of Russian artist and former soldier Vladimir Smakhtin. Weighing over 200 pounds, the segment of the wall is formed of thick concrete and steel rebar painted with a colorful graffiti figure of a man clasping a flag, and is signed “Smakhtin 90.” Before being purchased by Joan and Michael Green in 1997, this piece of the Berlin Wall was part of the collection of Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie.
The Greens’ gift will complement the large number of collections at Hoover that contain material related to the Berlin Wall and its legacy. Most significantly, Hoover Archives holds a substantial collection of Checkpoint Charlie photographs that span from the wall’s construction in 1961 to its fall in 1989. Hoover collections also include video footage and news broadcasts related to the fall of the Berlin wall.
As symbols of the physical and psychological end of the Cold War, segments of the Berlin Wall are in high demand by museums and collectors around the world: pieces of the wall are on permanent display at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California; at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City; at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies; at the Imperial War Museum in London; and at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Hoover L&A is grateful to make this generous gift part of its permanent collection.