LA Fridays with Bob and Tom: Wende Museum

LA Fridays with Bob and Tom

 Week 26. Wende Museum

This week we visit the Wende Museum. Its mission is to preserve Cold War art, culture and history from the Soviet Bloc countries. The museum collects and preserves artwork, artifacts, archives, films and personal histories from Cold War era Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union relating to the period 1945-1991. The collection recently moved to a former 60’s national armory located in Culver City. There are photography portraits of Russians from the 1960’s and photos of abandoned Soviet buildings, monuments and architecture. We found the sections and items relating to Communist Government surveillance of their citizens particularly interesting. On display was a large section of gifts to communist dictators and pieces of the Berlin Wall.  There is an area displaying Soviet space program propaganda, including posters, sculptures honoring space dogs, and footage from a Sputnik stop-motion animated TV special.

 The museum is free, guided tours are available.  it’s open on weekends with plenty of free parking. 




Robert (Bob) is a PhD physicist whose career has spanned academia, government and private industry. As a faculty member of the Department of Physics at the University of Tennessee, a Branch Chief at the United States Department of Energy and Vice President of an American International Group Company, his scientific endeavors include radiation physics, environmental research, environmental insurance and nanotechnology.

Originally from the East Coast, Bob was seduced by his sons and their families (and the California weather) to leave Washington, DC after retiring in 2010. While recovering from culture shock, Bob found many outlets to reconcile his eclectic interests. As a member of Senior Scholars for over six years he continues to take courses in a myriad of subjects ranging from film to art history to brain science and finds great intellectual and social rewards in Senior Scholars and the Plato Society.

As a latent artist, he sketches scenes about town once a week with an artist friend from his college days and is attempting to learn to play the electric guitar.

On moving to Los Angeles, he found Tom Jacobson, another recent transplant. They became great friends and decided to explore their new town together leading to over 113 sites in our city. Dubbed “LA Fridays with Bob and Tom” they are happy to share their experiences with others.

Bob lives in Brentwood with Phyllis, his wife of 56 years, an education policy executive. They have two sons and four grandchildren, one of whom plays a guitar a lot better than Bob.




Thomas (Tom) is an attorney who practiced trial and constitutional law in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Born in 1938 in Bamberg Germany, he was one of the youngest passengers on the ill-fated voyage of the Damned, the SS St. Louis, turned away from Cuba in 1939.

Tom represented local civil rights activists and Dick Gregory and twice argued cases successfully in the United States Supreme Court. In 1970 he was the Democratic candidate for Wisconsin Attorney General.

Retiring in 2008, he and wife, Peggy, moved to California to join their two sons and four grandchildren, and enjoy the warm weather.

Tom has kept busy as a member of Senior Scholars and Plato for the last six years keeping his brain stimulated and active. Yoga and swimming have kept his body in shape.