Saturday, July 7, 2018

At D.C.'s Newseum, the Media is the Message

If you’re interested in the world as seen through the eyes of a reporter, the Newseum is a must-visit destination on any trip to Washington, D.C.
Located at 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest, (within viewing distance of the Capitol), the seven-level news museum features 15 theaters, as many galleries and is a treasure trove of all things news related. History buffs, in particular, will spend hours poring over the artifacts which span five centuries and tell the story the press plays in shaping our perceptions.
Tickets cost $21.21 for adults and $16.96 for seniors and tickets are good for two consecutive days, so you can take your time to view everything there is to see. If you’re taking children, you can take advantage of their summer special which gains them free entrance from July 1 through Labor Day.
The outside of the Newseum in Washington, D.C. 
Navigating the Space
The education begins before guests set foot inside the front doors of the Newseum. Carved into the front of the building are the five freedoms of the First Amendment to remind visitors of the limited powers of the U.S. government. Located just outside the entrance is an ever-changing exhibit of the daily front pages of more than 80 newspapers worldwide.
Beyond the front doors is the Hearst Orientation Theater where visitors can view a four-minute video for tips on how to make the best use of their time to prioritize the topics that interest them most.

Learn about Law Enforcement and One Country’s Struggle for Freedom
The Berlin Wall Gallery, located on the concourse level, is where most visitors navigate first upon arrival. There guests can view 12-foot-high segments of the Berlin Wall, which museum officials brought back after making a deal with Berlin’s Check-Point Charlie museum. The western side of the wall contains vivid political graffiti with messages like “Act Up,” and contrasts starkly against the bare eastern side, symbolizing the fight between freedom and oppression. “One of most oft-taken photographs at the Newseum is the Berlin Wall,” said R. Scott Williams, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations. Guests will also view an imposing guard tower brought back from Berlin at the same time the segments of the wall were acquired. According to museum officials, when purchased in 1993, each 2.5-ton segment cost the museum $5,000, with the guard tower costing $15,000. When the wall came down there was celebration in the streets. Today, it’s a grim reminder of the nearly 200 people who died trying to escape and the 30,000 political prisoners who were jailed at the hands of a tyrannical regime.
Berlin Wall exhibit
Western side of the Berlin Wall

Also located on the concourse level is the FBI Exhibit, containing 200 artifacts from the biggest cases in the past 100 years. Among them are the Unabomber’s cabin, a sawed-off rifle used by Patty Hearst and the electric chair used to execute the kidnapper of the Lindbergh baby. “The items you’ll see here are related to big moments in history that it’s one of the exhibits that most people remark on after they leave,” said Williams.
Don Bolles' car

Bomb-damaged car belonging to investigative reporter Don Bolles.

Pulitzer Prize Photographs and a 4-D Theater

Photographers, in particular, will enjoy the Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery located on level one, where every winning photo is on display, some with interactive kiosks featuring interviews with photographers and the stories behind the compelling images.
Level one also features a 4-D theater, where guests will view a 13-minute film which takes them on a journey through some of the most dramatic events in journalism history, including the story of ground-breaking, female journalist Elizabeth Jane Cochrane, who adopted the pen name of “Nellie Bly.” Cochrane is notorious for blowing the lid off brutality and neglect at the Women’s Lunatic Asylum at New York’s Blackwell’s Island by feigning insanity to gain entrance. Learn of her struggles at the asylum and how her investigative efforts effected change in the late 1800s.

Remembering 9-11
One of the most moving exhibits is located on the fourth level. On the wall of the 9/11 Gallery, are framed newspapers showing journalists’ reaction to events that occurred that fateful day.
Located in the middle of the gallery guests will view the mangled antenna from the North Tower of the World Trade Center and artifacts salvaged from the scene. They will learn how journalists ran towards disaster to bring a story to the masses, and view a tribute to photojournalist William Biggart who lost his life that day. 
newspaper front page
Headlines after 9/11


World Trade Center remains
Piece of the North Tower of the World Trade Center
Civil Rights at 50
Visitors can view the "1968: Civil Rights at 50" exhibit located on Level 4 now through January 2, 2019. Historic images and artifacts highlight events that shaped history after the assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King and Senator Robert F. Kennedy. The exhibit explores political and social upheaval during a tumultuous time and juxtaposes political violence against Martin Luther King's advocacy for non-violence.

Journalists Memorial
On Monday, June 4, 2018, the Newseum rededicated its Journalists Memorial.  The two-story, glass structure, located on Level 3, currently commemorates 2,323 reporters, broadcasters, photographers and editors who lost their lives while reporting the news. Their names are etched in glass and kiosks provide visitor with information related to each individual, how they served their profession and sadly how they lost their lives while doing so. The searchable database can be accessed here. 
Journalists Memorial Credit: Maria Bryk/Newseum
Take a Picture with the Capitol as a Backdrop
Don’t end your visit without taking the elevator to the sixth floor to the Greenspun Terrace which overlooks Pennsylvania Avenue and provides spectacular views of the U.S. Capitol, the Supreme Court and the Washington Monument.
View from the Terrace. Credit: Sam Kittner/Newseum
Welcoming Thousands of Visitors Each Year
Nearly 810,000 guests visit the Newseum each year and the destination now ranks #19 on TripAdvisor’s list of “things to do in Washington, D.C.”  Krista Canfield McNish traveled from San Francisco to visit the museum. “As a former journalist, I was a bit worried that the Newseum might let me down, but I absolutely loved it. I found everything there to be compelling and interesting. For me, the highlights were the Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery (some of the images will bring tears to your eyes) and the 9/11 Gallery. I also loved the Today's Front Pages Gallery. The newspapers of the day that they put out are pretty awesome.”

These are but a few of the many exhibits that can take hours to navigate, which is why I suggest splitting your visit in to two separate days if you can fit it into your schedule. You’ll discover that it’s certainly time well spent.

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