It’s Monumental! What? My recent trip to Washington, D. C. All the classic sights that most people have explored over the years. The monuments dedicated to people who made American history, you know them – The Washington Monument, The Lincoln Memorial, The Jefferson Memorial, The newest one, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial to name a few.
My most notable past visits to the Capital of the United States included a visit to Frederick Douglass, an African-American social reformer, slave, social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer and statesman’s Cedar Hill home in the Anacostia neighborhood. And I organized a family tour of The White House in 2010 (it took a year to organize and plan). Last fall, my first visit to the Kennedy Center’s Jazz Club.
This visit to the District of Columbia was not to explore it’s monumental edifices but one specific storehouse, Newseum. I was not familiar with this museum. In 2013, when I embarked upon my first Nike Women’s Half-Marathon in the District, it was then that I noticed Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue. The gathering place where the half-marathon began.
The Grand Hyatt Washington hotel where we stayed, was a 10-minute walk away. The walk was a great way to continue to have a look at downtown D. C.’s Chinatown as well as Penn Quarter sections. And get in my 10,000 daily step goal.
Newseum, unlike the free admission to all the Smithsonian Institutions, there is a fee to investigate, a reasonable $24.27. Since my hubby was busy with CLE (Continuing Legal Education), I decided to take the tour for an additional $10.00. Since I was the only one that signed up for the tour, I had a one-on-one walk-through the seven floors.
I am not sure where to begin to share this experience. Should I start with the 90-foot -high atrium that included two icons of modern news reporting: a replica of the pioneering communications satellite ATS-1 and a Bell ‘JetRanger” helicopter. Or should I do like I always do, give you the history behind Newseum. I choose the latter.
The original Newseum was located in Arlington, Virginia. It was built to increase public awareness and understanding of the First Amendment and a free press. It makes sense that in 2008, this news museum was re-located to Washington, D. C.
The 250,000-square-foot museum blends five centuries of news history with up-to-the second technology and hands-on exhibits. One of my Newseum fascinations is that every day before dawn, someone has the task of displaying the daily front pages of 80 newspapers from around the world, These front pages are enlarged and printed for display outside the building as well as inside.
The seven levels of galleries are devoted to the following:
News History: The News History Gallery is the largest gallery in Newseum, with stories and artifacts covering 500 years of news. This is the only place where photos are not allowed.
First Amendment: This gallery explores each of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment from their beginnings to their relevance more than 200 years later.
9/11: This gallery shows the challenges journalists faced trying to report news of the terrorist attacks to the world.
Internet, TV and Radio: This gallery follows the development of electronic media from the birth of the radio more than a century ago to today’s digital news.
Berlin Wall: This gallery explores the role of the news media during the 28-year history of the wall. The director of the Checkpoint Charlie Museum in Berlin transferred the East German watchtower to the Newseum in 1994 because he feared the guard towers would be destroyed to make way for commercial development. Only a few of the towers exist today. Actual pieces of the 27 miles of the concrete wall that divided East and West Berlin are housed in this gallery.
World News: This gallery highlights journalists around the globe chronicling events that shape and connect our world -whether war, natural disasters or revolution.
Changing Exhibits: This gallery exhibits and explores compelling topics and issues in depth. Currently, the FBI exhibit which includes the G-Men, Unabomber Ted Kaczynski’s story and his cabin where he hid out for 17 years. It was there he made bombs. Then the reminder with foot bomb display of why we take our shoes off at the airport for security. A must see is the 1965: Civil Rights at 50 exhibit until January 3, 2016.
News Media: Opening soon. This gallery will explore the evolving role of the digital technologies in journalism and the fast-changing media landscape.
As I walked with the tour guide, I couldn’t help to be moved when I saw pieces of the Berlin Wall, the 9/11 exhibit, the Pulitzer Prize photographs, the Journalists Memorial and the sheer amount of news covered in these galleries. I didn’t get to the Interactive Newsroom where visitors can use touch-screen kiosks to play games that test one’s skills as reporter or photographer.
The Newseum, it’s monumental like all the other museums in Washington, D. C. Another visit is necessary. Perhaps to see upcoming exhibits: the “Nationals at 10” which opens July 31, 2015 through November 29, 2015. As well as “Inside the FBI” which opens November 13, 2015.
Have you been to Washington, D.C. lately? What have you explored?
I hope you had an enjoyable Independence Day with your family and friends. Have a fabulous week.