Sunday, August 16, 2015

Revisiting D.C.'s Newseum After Several Years Away

Being a passionate journalist and communications professional, it's flat-out crazy that I don't visit the Newseum in Washington DC, where I live, as frequently as at least once a year.

It has probably been five years since I set foot in there, when I helped run a press conference for the World Resources Institute. Even though it's one of the only museums in D.C. that you have to pay for, and it's a fairly steep $25 entrance fee, it's well worth it.

Unless you read all the front-page spreads of many of the newspapers from around the world, it's actually a relatively quick museum to make your way through. There are so many interesting and diverse things to see, always told with an element of how journalism or journalists fit into the larger story.

The first thing on display right now when walking in is a piece of the Berlin Wall, and also a tower from near one of the Checkpoint Charlie sites.

Next up our displays of the funny pages, the counterculture of the 1960s, and Vietnam coverage from that same era. Those each could actually be much larger exhibits, or exhibits of their own filling the entire museum.

Also of note is a display from the civil rights era featuring a jail cell door that held Martin Luther King Jr. and a lunch counter from Nashville, Tennessee where protesters sat before fights and riots broke out. There's a long theater-seating area that displaying many screens of live TV news. When I walked through, Hillary Clinton was stumping in Iowa.

There is amazing display of the RCA tower that fell from one of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. Accompanying that is a spellbinding video of the one and only working journalist (amazingly) who died in the catastrophe, as he rushed towards the towers to take photos.

Joined by my dad and brother Tim, we didn't expect to sit in a room for nearly an hour watching a documentary, but that's exactly what we did, as the movie on the history of sports journalism was two fascinating to stop watching.

Finally, We stopped in to view the Washington Nationals baseball exhibit, which was quite a bit more interesting than actually watching the team on the field these days.
Final verdict: don't miss the Newseum when you visit Washington DC. It's a little bit of an under-looked gem.

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