What is the Newseum?The Newseum is a large museum founded by the Freedom Forum, intended to promote free expression and the First Amendment to the US Constitution. It also has a particular interest in the history of communication and mass media. Its 7-floor building can be found on Pennsylvania Avenue, between the U.S. Capitol Building and the White House, and its symbolic design lets the public see the exhibitions inside from the street. It’s also home to the Journalists Memorial, which lists the names of over 2,290 journalists from around the world who have been killed while working. The museum seeks to educate the public about the role journalism has played in key historical events and the everyday lives of citizens and to highlight the day-to-day challenges faced by members of the media - from news anchors to war reporters.
What will I see on a trip to the museum?There are permanent galleries dedicated to the First Amendment (which enshrines the right to free speech in the US Constitution), the FBI and its relationship with the media, the history of news throughout the centuries, and interactive exhibits about media ethics. There are also exhibits dedicated to certain eras or major events which changed the nature of news journalism, such as the Berlin Wall (including the largest sections of the Wall itself displayed outside Germany) and the Iron Curtain, the events of 9/11, and the Stonewall Riots. Important individual items include one of only 19 copies of the first newspaper to publish the Declaration of Independence, items relating to the reporting of the Civil Rights movement, and a CONUS 1 truck, the first satellite news-vehicle, which changed the way that television stations covered breaking news. There’s a lot to interact with, and plenty of media footage to watch throughout the 7 floors of exhibits.
Should I take a guided tour?You don’t need a tour guide in order to enjoy the Newseum, but if you are interested in learning even more about news media, you can upgrade your experience by taking a guided tour. There are a couple of options if you’d like the assistance of an expert guide. You can either join the daily 60-minute First Amendment Highlights tour, which leaves 4 times a day and costs $10 to join. Alternatively, you can book a private tour for your group, which takes 90 minutes and has a range of pricing options depending on the size of your group and the date and time of your visit. Other team-building and educational activities are also available for adult and youth groups.
Will my children enjoy a trip to the Newseum?While the exhibits are quite interactive, some of the subject matter covered might not be suitable for younger or sensitive children. For example, the exhibits covering 9/11 and Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs do feature distressing and graphic content, and parents might need to explain historical events as they go along. Older children will enjoy pretending to be a newsreader, and there are also other interactive games on the upper floors which are both educational and fun.