Newseum: must-see D.C. museum for news, politics & history buffs
Whether you are a history enthusiast, news and politics buff, or a student or fan of media and first-amendment rights, the Newseum is a must-go museum in Washington, D.C. Be sure to get there before it shuts its doors the end of 2019 and don’t miss the new rotating exhibits at the capitol’s two airports.
When it comes to museums, of course, there is no shortage in the capital of the United States. And many of them – Smithsonian museums, galleries and parks as the biggest example – are free, being paid for in part by our own tax dollars of course. Even though the spectacular Newseum is not free, it offers an insider look at all things news, current events, past history and First Amendment. There is something for everyone, not to mention great lessons for students visiting Washington, D.C.
But apparently that wasn’t enough to keep it afloat, so the Newseum building on Pennsylvania Avenue was purchased by Johns Hopkins. We took the opportunity in August 2019 to visit it one last time. We were reassured that the exhibits were going to be put carefully into storage and a smaller location would be sought. Meanwhile, the Newseum has announced the opening of two airport locations with rotating exhibits – the [email protected] and the [email protected].
From the gallery of stunning Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs and the moving 9/11 Gallery (there is in fact a box of tissues in the area), the Berlin Wall gallery and the exhibit about presidents’ “First Dogs,” to real copies of historical newspapers dating back centuries, the Newseum will suck you in, perhaps for many hours. We arrived late morning on our first visit a number of years ago and asked how long most people take there. The cashier said, “Oh, about four hours.” Then we added that we were journalists. “Oh,” came his short response, “Well, your tickets are good for two days.” In fact, we needed nearly all of two days.
And not just because we are journalists. But because the museum, which opened in 2008, has an array of real exhibits that bring news and events to life: the actual car an investigative Phoenix journalist died in when a car bomb exploded under it, a large piece of the Berlin Wall splattered with graffiti, the TV antenna from the top of the World Trade Tower, reporters’ briefcases and notepads from covering world events, and bullet-ridden trucks from war coverage. Every area has short videos, often first-person accounts, that draw you in. And the Newseum is not shy about its message advocating First Amendment rights or freedom of the press. Don’t forget the memorial to journalists killed or murdered in covering events.
We of course aren’t the only ones who think this Washington, D.C., museum is astounding. Take a look at what others are saying by clicking here.
Since you’ll need a bathroom break, give yourself some time in there since the walls have inset tiles here and there with funny quotes and headlines from real newspapers. For example, from the San Diego (Calif.) Tribune in 1998: “Poll says the 53% believe that media offen make mistakes.”
The Newseum in Washington, D.C., was funded and founded by an array of media groups and foundations, which you can read about by clicking here.
The Newseum in Washington, D.C., is easy to get to, right in the center of things, at 555 Pennsylvania Ave., just a block up from the National Mall, not quite two blocks from the National Gallery of Art, and a stone’s throw from several of the Smithsonian National Museums, including National History, American History and Air and Space.