When the Newseum opened in 1997 at its original location just over the river from Washington, DC in Rosslyn, Virginia, the media industry was a completely different landscape. Since its relocation in 2008 to its current space on Pennsylvania Avenue, it has been considered one of the most interactive museums in the world, with fifteen galleries and fifteen theaters, drawing in 815,000 visitors annually eager to peruse its exhibits about print, broadcast and digital media.
But its creator and primary funder the Freedom Forum has made a deal to sell the building to Johns Hopkins University, so the Newseum will be closing at the end of 2019. Whether you’ve never been there or have made it part of your pilgrimage to the U.S. capital city, here are some of the must-see exhibits before it closes its doors.
Front Pages Gallery
Outside the museum, the front pages of newspapers all around the world and in all fifty states are posted daily. (Online, an archive of front pages goes back to September 11, 2001.)
Chaos and misinformation ensued on that tragic day as news broke in three places almost simultaneously. Through artifacts, a documentary film, broadcast and print media, this gallery tells the story of the media and outlets who tirelessly worked to tell the story. It also includes a tribute to photojournalist Bill Biggart, who died covering the attacks.
News Corporation News History Gallery
At 8000 sq ft, this gallery is the largest of the Newseum’s 15 permanent galleries and covers more than 500 years of news history. A timeline highlights 400 newspaper front pages, news books and magazines from their collection, ten interactive touch screens holds a database of journalists, eight areas explore the issues confronting journalists such as war reporting and sensationalism and five 25-seat theaters offer videos that delve into all of these topics in greater depth.
Berlin Wall Gallery
In the late 1980s, journalists and photographers were integral in helping topple the Communist regime in Eastern Europe. Along with broadcast clips and print news, this gallery has eight 12-foot-high concrete sections of the original wall – the largest display of unaltered portions outside of Germany – and a three-story East German guard tower.
Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement
Marking the 50th anniversary of the June 1969 police raid of the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York, this exhibit explores the modern gay rights movement.
Reporters and photographers on the front lines have an incredibly dangerous but absolutely crucial job. A soaring, two-story glass memorial holds the names of 2344 members of the media who lost their lives reporting the news. Photographs of hundreds of them are joined by kiosks with information about their lives and careers.
NBC News Interactive Newsroom
This 7700 sq ft interactive space educates visitors on reporting tools and techniques via individual touch-screen stations, while Be a TV Reporter stations give them the chance to sit in front of various video backdrops, read a news report from a teleprompter and check the monitor to see how they do.
Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery
A favorite among visitors, this gallery has the largest collection of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs, including every winning entry since 1942 when the award was first bestowed. Touch screens hold access to more than 1,000 images and 15 hours of video and audio.
The Newseum is open until December 31, 2019 with the exception of Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. It’s open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adult admission is $24.95, ages 7-18 is $14.95, seniors aged 65+ are $19.95 and children under 6 are admitted free.