The historic items stored and displayed at the Cold War Museum include objects from the Berlin Airlift, U-2 Incident (such as Francis Gary Powers' helmet and suitcase), and materials from the Space Race. Additionally, the museum features a 5,000 square foot exhibit on the Cuban Missile Crisis, complete with a Soviet SA-2 missile and 4 American Nike Missiles. The largest collection of American civil defense items is located here.
The main objectives of the museum are to preserve local and regional Cold War history, erect Cold War Memorials in honor of the fallen, and to establish a reference library and research center, with the aim of maintaining historically accurate information. To do so, it works with educational institutions and television networks, including the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, A&E Television Networks, the Learning Channel, C-SPAN, and public access stations. A traveling mobile exhibit on the U-2 Incident serves to promote the museum, and has been displayed at many locations across the U.S. The museum also has chapters based in Waukesha, Wisconsin and Berlin, Germany.