Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Day in the Newseum

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of taking a trip to the Newseum. Located near the National Archives on Pennsylvania Avenue, the facility is a huge, modern building dedicated to memorializing and exploring the free (and the not-so-free) press.

I've lived in Washington for over a year, and visited many of its museums, but the Newseum is by far my favorite. I'll go so far as to endorse it: If you're in Washington and have time for only one museum, visit the Newseum. But make sure to have plenty of time, the place is vast and is absolutely filled with interesting exhibits.

Of course, the focus of the Newseum is not just the history of the news. Indeed, the museum shows the importance of the media in today's times. From Climate Change to Saturday Night Live, there are plenty of exhibits dealing with the present. And while Stephen Colbert derides the museum as the Newsoleum because he says that it's a place where visitors can see the history of the old, dead news, nothing could be farther from the truth.

The open, airy design of the structure allows for many large exhibits, including a newscopter and part of the transmission antenna from the World Trade Center. I think that the antenna is the centerpiece of the most eerie of the exhibits: it's surrounded by the front pages of all the newspapers reporting the September 11th tragedy. From the Atlanta Journal's "OUTRAGE" to the San Francisco Examiner's "BASTARDS!", this mosaic of sadness and pain is a moving display.

And most breathtaking of all is their terrace. Called the best view of the Capitol anywhere in DC, the outdoor rooftop observation deck is six stories above Pennsylvania Avenue and only 5 blocks from the grand centerpiece of L'Enfant's city. This view alone is worth the admission fee, but the exhibits are a nice byproduct, too.

So, from the 6 segments of the Berlin Wall (including guard tower) on the ground floor to the gallery of today's front pages on the top, this museum is one of the finest gems in Washington. Make sure not to miss it if you find yourself in our nation's captial.

1 comment:

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

I love the Newseum! All those old newspapers are a kick.