WASHINGTON — Do you love reading the newspaper? How about watching the news on TV or the internet? Then you should make plans to visit The Newseum in Washington D.C. It’s a museum dedicated to all things journalism–right on Pennsylvania Avenue between the U.S. Capitol and the White House.
I flew Southwest from Detroit to the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Then, I took the yellow Metrorail train to the Archives-National Memorial station. The Newseum is only a short 6-minute walk from there.
Upon walking inside, you will begin your visit on the lower level called the Hubbard Broadcasting Concourse. First, watch the Newseum’s five-minute orientation video, which plays in two of these theaters. In the other theater, don’t miss “What’s News?,” featuring the key stories of our time.
Then, stand in the shadow of the Berlin Wall and an East German guard tower and witness how the free flow of news and information helped topple an oppressive government. The Newseum has the largest number of sections of the Berlin Wall in the United States.
Take the elevator up to level six. There you can check out the Hank Greenspun Family Terrace. Enjoy the best view in Washington, D.C., from six stories above Pennsylvania Avenue. It’s a don’t-miss photo op for any visit to the nation’s capital!
When you return inside, check out today’s front pages. Take in a daily roundup of front-page headlines from all 50 states and around the world. See if your hometown newspaper is featured! I was able to find the Detroit Free Press, but was surprised to see that The Los Angeles Times wasn’t included.
Walk down the stairs to level five. There you’ll find the News Corporation News History Gallery. The Newseum’s largest gallery recounts the history of newsgathering over five centuries. The gallery features more than 300 historic front pages and explores diverse topics including war reporting, women in media and the speed of news through short films, unique artifacts and landmark news events. A special section looks at two U.S. journalists who were killed reporting the news.
Also check out the 1776 — Breaking News: Independence exhibit. On display in the Pulliam Family History of Liberty Gallery, see the first newspaper printing of the Declaration of Independence and discover the dramatic story — told in graphic-novel style — of how Colonial printers fanned the flames of the American Revolution.
Take the stairs down to level four. There you’ll find the 9/11 Gallery Sponsored by Comcast. Watch the events of Sept. 11, 2001, unfold through first-person accounts from reporters, and see the broadcast antenna that once stood atop the World Trade Center. They also have a chunk of concrete from the Pentagon building.
Also visit the 1967: Civil Rights at 50 exhibit. Explore the turbulent events of 1967, when African Americans used their First Amendment freedoms to challenge police brutality, economic inequality and the Vietnam War amid deadly riots and the rise of the Black Panther Party. There is even a section on the 1967 12th Street riots in Detroit. Good call!
Walk down the stairs to level three. There you’ll find the Time Warner World News Gallery. This gallery’s World Press Freedom Map vividly demonstrates how press freedom can differ dramatically across the globe. Artifacts damaged by shrapnel and recovered from slain reporters are a reminder of the dangers journalists face on the job every day. There are several photos from the Detroit area on the wall.
Also visit the Bloomberg Internet, TV and Radio Gallery. Trace the evolution of the spread of information through historic artifacts, vintage broadcasts and breaking newscasts. I particularly enjoyed this gallery since we are an online news website. It also featured a section on Dan Rather’s 2004 report about President Bush’s military record on 60 Minutes II, which lead to his dramatic exit from the CBS network.
Take the stairs down to level two. There you’ll find the NBC News Interactive Newsroom. Now it’s time to try your hand at reporting! Step in front of the camera and experience what it’s like to be a TV newscaster. Post a photo of yourself online as an on-the-scene reporter — and don’t forget to use #Newseum. Test your skills as an investigative reporter or photographer at interactive stations — will you make front-page news? This is my favorite part of visiting the Newseum because you can make a video of your self and see it playback on the monitor above.
Also visit the The Bancroft Family Ethics Center. Challenge your friends to a fast-paced interactive game on media ethics. Who will be the first to fill their front page with reputable stories? Touch-screen kiosks offer a deeper look into real-life stories for which journalists faced tough ethical dilemmas, and you can decide whether you think they made the right call.
Walk down the stairs to the first level. There you’ll find the Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery. See the most comprehensive collection of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs ever assembled. An original documentary film and interactive kiosks featuring interviews with dozens of winning photographers reveal the stories behind some of history’s most famous and iconic images.
I greatly enjoyed my visit to the Newseum. I was surprised to see so many connections to Detroit including the photos at the Time Warner World News Gallery and the 1967 Detroit Riots display.
The Newseum is located at 555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC, 20001. Hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $24.95 for Adults (19 to 64), $19.95 for Seniors (65 and older), $14.95 for Youth (7 to 18) and Free for Children (6 and younger). Visit their website at http://www.newseum.org/