03/19/2010 - Last summer, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, based in Washington, D.C., launched an online Global Museum on Communism, and in a subsequent letter to Pew president and CEO Rebecca Rimel, Lee Edwards, Ph.D., the foundation’s chairman, described the launch and initial impact of the Pew-supported project.
“In less than two years,” he wrote, “the museum moved from an ‘inspired idea’ to a world-class Internet platform that will help educate this and future generations about the history, philosophy and legacy of communism. The museum has the potential to reach and teach people every hour of every day, regardless of where they are in the world.”
The site can be found at www.globalmuseumoncommunism.org. It contains global maps, timelines and essays as well as photographs, videos and audio recordings. Major sections include exhibitions arranged by nation, a Gallery of Heroes, a Hall of Infamy and a Victims Registry, telling “the heroic stories of everyday people who suffered under, and ultimately triumphed over, communist regimes,” Edwards noted.
In September, Communication Arts magazine chose the site as a “Web pick of the week,” and Edwards pointed out that since opening, the museum has received more than 50,000 unique visitors from over 100 countries.
In reply, Rimel described the special interest that one of Pew’s founders would have had in the museum. “Much of the history documented by your new virtual exhibitions was yet to unfold when J. Howard Pew succeeded his father as president of the Sun Company in 1912. He could have imagined neither the horrors nor the heroism that would accompany the rise and fall of communisms around the world over the next century.
“Indeed, his strong commitment to advancing the cause of individual liberty and free markets would be forged in the midst of this drama. His life and legacy were devoted to supporting political freedoms that encourage open competition in enterprise and individual involvement in civic affairs.”
Mr. Pew would surely have been one of the museum’s unique visitors, Rimel said: “He would have been deeply moved by its content and especially pleased by its universal availability.”
This article appeared in the Spring 2010 issue of Trust magazine.