November 7, 2019
The Newsuem: A Last Glance Before The Doors Close Permanently
“World Press Freedom” exhibit sign at the NewsuemSource: Newsuem | Penelope Peru Photography
From the Berlin Wall to the state of press freedom around the globe today, the Newsuem has stressed the importance of the First Amendment for over 11 years.
Before the Newsuem closes their doors permanently on Dec. 31, we had the opportunity to visit the six-story establishment in Washington D.C. on Nov. 2.
About the Newsuem
555 Pennsylvania Ave NW,
Washington, DC, 20001
Ticket prices to visit the Newsuem are based on age and subject to change without notice, according to their website.
- Six years old and under: Free
- Seven to 18 years old: $14.95 + tax
- 19 to 64 years old: $24.95 + tax
- 65 and older: $19.95 + tax
Discounts are available for college students, teachers, journalists, AAA members, and those who have served in the military. An applicable ID must be presented at the admissions desk in order to qualify.
You may also use the code “15OFF” to receive 15 percent off of Newsuem ticket orders online now through the end of the year.
Visiting the Newsuem
“THE FREE PRESS IS A CORNERSTONE OF DEMOCRACY”Source: Newsuem | Penelope Peru Photography
15 exhibits are weaved throughout the maze-like, multi-level museum, beginning with the Hearst Theaters, Berlin Wall Gallery, Comics, and Inside Today’s FBI in the Hubbard Broadcasting Concourse.
The Berlin Wall Gallery hosts the largest display of unaltered pieces from the Berline Wall outside of Germany, as stated on their website.
XtaSeay observes pieces of the Berlin WallSource: Newsuem | Penelope Peru Photography
Eight 12-foot high pieces of concrete scream for your attention in the center of the gallery. The west side of the wall is adorned in colorful graffiti that starkly contrasts with the dull-grey east side.
On the second floor, visitors are encouraged to “Be a TV Reporter” through an interactive exhibit that records them reading from a teleprompter in front of various video backdrops.
The second floor also pays homage to late-night talk show hosts including Jon Stewart, John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, and Trevor Noah. Humorous quotes and satirical newspaper articles about American Politics can be seen throughout the exhibit, as well.
Photos of the “Seriously Funny” exhibit on the second floorSource: Newsuem | Penelope Peru Photography
The interactive Time Warner World News Gallery on the third floor highlights the press freedom around the world on a 36-foot wide map that’s updated annually, the Newsuem explains online.
In front of the map, press freedom in Norway is contrasted with the constraints on media in North Korea. Touch screens are available for visitors who would like to learn more about press freedom in other countries, as well.
Press freedom around the world: Norway v.s. North KoreaSource: Newsuem | Penelope Peru Photography
Next to the Time Warner World News Gallery, the two-story Journalists Memorial displays 2,344 portraits of industry professionals who lost their lives doing what they loved: covering the news.
XtaSeay pays respect to those honored at the Journalists MemorialSource: Newsuem | Penelope Peru Photography
On the fourth floor, the five freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment of The Bill of Rights are celebrated in the Cox Enterprises First Amendment Gallery: freedoms of religion, speech, the press, assembly, and the freedom to petition.
At the end of the gallery, a play on the iconic chalkboard gag from The Simpsons reads, “THE FIRST AMENDMENT DOES NOT COVER BURPING,” which transitions into a wall of modern First Amendment cases heard by the Supreme Court of the United States.
Photos of the Cox Enterprises First Amendment GallerySource: Newsuem | Penelope Peru Photography
On the fifth floor, visitors are warped back in time to watch The Declaration of Independence unfold before their very eyes, just how it unfolded for colonists in 1776: in the press.
The “1776 – Breaking News: Independence” gallery showcases one of the 19 known copies of “The Pennsylvania Evening Post’s” July 6, 1776 publication of The Declaration of Independence.
The rest of the gallery includes illustrations and interactive kiosks that examine the historical article as well as the events that led to America declaring its independence from Britain.
On the sixth floor, newspapers, portraits, and signs from the Stonewall riots detail the fight for equal rights in the LGBTQ community.
“Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement”Source: Newsuem | Penelope Peru Photography
The “Today’s Front Pages” exhibit displays the front pages of newspapers that were distributed that morning. Headlines on Nov. 2 included, Orlando Sentinel’s “State to Tackle Vaping”, The Washington Post’s “Inside Syria’s Teeming ISIS Prisons”, and Boston Herald’s “THEY DON’T HEAR US,” among many others.
Today’s Front Pages: Nov. 2, 2019Source: Newsuem | Penelope Peru Photography
From the Hank Greenspun Family Terrace on Saturday afternoon, Washington Nationals fans could be seen packing into the parade like sardines on Pennsylvania Ave for as far as the eye could see.
The Washington Nationals Parade, as seen from the Hank Greenspun Family TerraceSource: Washington Nationals World Series Parade Photos | Penelope Peru Photography
Some fans lingered on the terrace, watching the madness peacefully unfold from up above.
Bug’s Two Cents
4.8 out of 5 top stories
Modern, fresh, and an important staple of the press industry, the Newsuem truly touched me as a journalist.
However, the Newsuem can be a bit tricky to navigate, especially if it’s your first time visiting. I highly recommend going earlier in the day to ensure you have enough time to find your bearings and interact with each of the displays.
Nevertheless, being nose to nose with the Berlin Wall and historic news stories as they were printed decades ago spoke volumes about what it means to work in the news industry: you truly are the fourth estate, “raking the muck” to protect liberty and expose injustice to all.
There are many sacrifices that arise from being a journalist. Outside of coffee-fueled, sleepless nights of pouring over research, reporters and editors risk their lives in covering and publishing controversial stories – as you can see by the 2,344 portraits in the Newsuem’s Journalists Memorial.
Although print publications have been closing their doors left and right for years, the journalism industry is here to stay – albeit, in a much less “tangible” sense as newspapers and magazines migrate to the digital space.
Yet, we need print publications. They’re artifacts, cementing some of the most important events that have shaped history over the last few hundred years. Seeing original copies of breaking news stories in the paper engulfed me in a sense of awe and nostalgia, and that’s a feeling the digital landscape just can’t capture.
Even if you’re like me, a total child of the internet who gets nostalgic when you see prehistoric websites from the early 2000s, seeing a historic article online isn’t quite the same as seeing the headlines on aged newspaper.
The Newsuem ardently champions for the First Amendment and portrays the press in a whole other light that other museums may not be able to capture. I am truly heartbroken the Newsuem will be closing on Dec. 31 and wish I had more time during my visit to interact with the galleries
and take better photos.
The Newsuem is Closing on Dec. 31
On Oct. 1, the Newsuem announced online they’re permanently closing their doors on Dec. 31 due to financial challenges that had been going on for years.
The building was sold to Johns Hopkins University, who intends on using the facility for graduate programs based in Washington D.C.
“In early 2020, once the Newseum closes, deinstallation of its exhibits will begin and artifacts will be moved to a state-of-the-art support center where they will be housed and maintained,” the Newsuem said.
Until the Newsuem closes, visitors may enjoy 15 percent off of their tickets purchased online using the discount code “15OFF.”
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