International Museum of World War II in Natick Abruptly Closes

The September 3, 2019 Boston Globe published a story reporting the International Museum of World War II in Natick “closed down abruptly over the weekend amid a legal battle with billionaire Ronald S. Lauder, with whose help the museum had planned to relocate eventually to Washington, D.C.

“’This was sudden and very unexpected,’ director Kenneth W. Rendell, who founded the museum 20 years ago, said Monday. ‘I’m extremely disappointed and bewildered.’

“In May, Rendell had revealed that he was working with donors to move the museum to Washington. At the time, however, he did not disclose that he had sold Lauder the core of the museum’s holdings for $25 million in March 2018. The contract called on both parties to keep the deal secret.

“The thousands of purchased artifacts, owned by Rendell and his wife, Shirley McNerney Rendell, range from a Sherman tank and a Higgins landing boat to Hitler’s uniform and mustache trimmer. They made up more than 65 percent of the museum’s collection, Rendell estimated.”

The Museum was popular among radio amateurs and featured exhibits on specialty radio gear as well as displays describing women of WWII, the resistance, Enigma machines, etc. It was the topic of an story (“International Museum of World War II, Natick“) in November, 2018. 

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