Welcome from the Director
Michael F. Bishop
Director, National Churchill Library and Center
Welcome to the National Churchill Library and Center at the George Washington University. The result of a philanthropic partnership between GW and the International Churchill Society, the NCLC was conceived as both a base for all Churchill-related activities in the United States and a vital campus resource. After years of planning and construction, the NCLC is a reality.
Within this sleek, silvery space, students and visitors have access to hundreds of volumes on Churchill, from classic works to much of the most recent scholarship. An interactive, touch-screen video exhibition allows patrons to see in vivid detail countless photographs and documents that bring this historic figure to life. And the incomparable holdings of the Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge, is available to visitors online.
Thanks to a generous gift from the ICS, the NCLC can also boast a remarkable collection of Churchill’s Second World War engagement diary cards, never before available to the public or scholars. In addition to the originals, high-resolution digital scans are available online, and a remarkably successful crowdsourcing project has yielded detailed transcriptions.
But the value of the NCLC is not to be found in books, papers, or pixels alone. The walls of the library will soon ring with the sounds of discussion and debate, as we host lectures by prominent historians, political figures, business leaders and others, and explore the countless issues that touch upon the Churchill story, among them questions of war and peace, the future of the European Union, and the continuing challenges in the Middle East.
The long and varied career of Winston Churchill is a blueprint for leadership. Indeed, leadership will be chief among the themes we will explore at the NCLC, as his example provides inspiration and instruction to leaders and aspiring leaders in many different fields of endeavor. And all of this will happen just five blocks from the White House and six blocks from the Department of State.
The NCLC is at the heart of a worldwide network of institutions and organizations devoted to the study of Winston Churchill’s life and career, including the National Churchill Museum in Fulton, Missouri; the Cabinet War Rooms at the Imperial War Museum in London; and Chartwell, Churchill’s home in in Kent. But we will also provide a home for students and scholars wishing to use the resources of the Library of Congress, National Archives, and other Washington institutions, whether the topic is Churchill or any other related to history, politics, statesmanship, war, or literature. As the scope of Churchill’s life and career was vast, so too will be that of the NCLC.
I look forward to your visit to the NCLC and hope you will return often. As a GW graduate (M.A., ’94) I am particularly pleased to find myself back at the heart of a thriving academic community in our nation’s capital.