My friend Joyce visited for Memorial Day Weekend, and she had one must-see on her list: the Newseum. I had heard of it but had no idea how much fun it would be until we actually went there.
The Newseum was founded by Gannett at or near its headquarters in Arlington, VA. It bcame an independent nonprofit a few years ago and moved to DC, near the National Mall. It’s 6 floors tall and is crammed full of everything you could possibly want to know about the news business, and more.
A couple of hours in a museum is usually enough for me, as I get saturated quickly reading wall plaques and taking in all the information, or tire at looking at artwork.
But I thoroughly enjoyed 6 hours at the Newseum and could have gone back the next day for more, but we had other places to explore. (The $22 ticket price is good for 2 days.)
My neighbor Pat was working as a tour guide that day so we did that pretty early into our visit, getting a good overview of everything: the contest winners for best photos of the year, (the Unabomber) Ted Kaczinsky’s cabin from Montana, newspaper front pages on Katrina, newspaper front pages on 9/11, a corner on world press freedom (did you know Italy’s press is only partly free, because the head of the country owns so many media outlets?), a corner on the First Amendment. And that’s only a partial listing.
Afterward we explored some areas in more depth. Everything was interactive and multimedia making it a really entertaining, as well as informative, experience.
We took in a filming of a Q and A with two journalists who covered 9/11, one from the vantage point of being with President Bush at the time, and the other who was on the scene at the Pentagon.
I finished up with a film on press coverage of the Holocaust, with the lesson on how press coverage (or lack of it) can either help victims of great suffering or cause them to be ignored.
I’m seriously thinking of becoming a museum member, to return often for talks and special programs.