Have you heard the news? Now you can see, hear and report it at one of Washington DC’s most exciting new museums. The Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue offers visitors a look at news like never before—significant, defining moments that span 5 centuries, through the past, present and up to the second. Throughout the 250,000 square foot, high-tech structure are seven different levels of galleries, demonstrations and interactive exhibits. Learn about the many different publications, people and technologies that bring the news to life in the News Corporation News History Gallery.
See artifacts, historic newspapers and magazines, videos and more that demonstrate the timeline of news.
Find out what it takes to put a newscast together in the NBC Interactive Newsroom—then grab a microphone, sit in front of a camera and report it yourself, just like the pros do. See the Berlin Wall and the September 11 exhibits—and gain an understanding of the monumental task journalists faced when covering these events that changed our lives. At the Newseum, people of all ages are enlightened, entertained and educated.
Ultimate Guide To Washington, DC’s Newseum
The only museum devoted to free expression, the highly acclaimed Newseum is a top destination in Washington, D.C. Situated between the White House and the U.S. Capitol, the institution has galleries and exhibits dedicated to the five freedoms listed on the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. These include the freedom of religion, assembly, petition, speech and the press. The building’s seven expansive floors house unique artifacts, interactive displays and multimedia galleries that trace the evolution of communication from its early print days to today’s modern electronic technologies. Experience real life, thrilling stories of the First Amendment in action and discover how its freedoms continue to connect and shape our world. The 250,000-square-foot museum has 15 galleries and 15 theaters with numerous permanent, temporary and rotating exhibits, films and documentaries.
History of the Newseum
The Newseum originally opened in 1997 at a location in Arlington, Virginia. Three years later, museum trustees voted to move the facility to a location across the Potomac River in the Penn Quarter section of Washington, DC. The selected plot was once the site of the National Hotel where John Wilkes Booth stayed while planning the assassination of President Lincoln. Solomon Northrup, a freeborn African-American, was kidnapped from the hotel in 1841 and sold into slavery. His famous memoir entitled “12 Years a Slave” was immortalized in a critically acclaimed film in 2014. The original museum closed in 2002.
Designed by Ralph Appelbaum and James Stewart Polshek, the iconic building features a large front window that overlooks Pennsylvania Avenue and the National Mall. The façade includes a four-story-tall, stone panel that is engraved with the first 45 words of the First Amendment. A 1956 graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Jerry Friedheim is credited with coining the term Newseum to describe the facility. The new building opened to the public in April 2008.
Must See Exhibits
The First Amendment Gallery features exhibits, short films and multimedia displays that place the five fundamental freedoms in their historical context. The gallery also provides a perspective on what James Madison called “the great rights of mankind” and what they mean in the modern era. The 8,000-square-foot News History Gallery encompasses over 500 years of covering the news. It displays historic newspaper headlines, magazine covers and interactive displays that show a variety of clips. The Journalists Memorial is a soaring two-story-high glass wall etched with the names of journalists, editors and photographers who have lost their lives covering the news. The memorial also provides information on their careers.
The 9/11 Gallery records the firsthand accounts and media coverage of that momentous day in American history. The displays relay how news organizations from around the country geared up and overcame various challenges to cover the event as it unfolded in New York City, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. The Berlin Wall Gallery features eight 12-foot-tall sections of the former barricade between East and West Berlin. It is the largest display of concrete segments outside of Germany. The East German guard tower on exhibit once stood near Checkpoint Charlie. Although the wall stopped armies, the barrier could not prevent news and information from reaching the people and helping to topple the oppressive regime. The Front Page Gallery posts copies of dozens of newspapers from around the world each day. The Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery displays the award-winning pictures that have defined various moments in history.
The Internet, TV and Radio Gallery chronicles more than seven decades of electronic media evolution through a timeline of various photographs, printed materials and internet archives. Two 25-foot-tall multimedia walls display memorable news events in broadcast history. There are also displays of current stories and technology advancements that are shaping the world. The Interactive Newsroom enables visitors to learn and experience the tools and techniques used to deliver a front-page news story. You can even put on your own news broadcast. The Terrace on Pennsylvania Avenue provides a panoramic view of the famous street that serves as the setting for public celebrations, inaugural parades and state funeral processions. The railing is engraved with various events that have shaped the history of the thoroughfare.
Know Before You Go
The kid-friendly, ADA-compliant Newseum is open daily from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. It is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. A special ticket is required for admittance on Inauguration Day. Admission price discounts are available to seniors and students under 18. Children 6 and under are admitted free. Military families, college students and AAA members are also eligible for discount admission with a valid ID.
The museum offers guided tours that provide additional insight into the various exhibits as well as behind-the-scenes information on the stories and events being chronicled. Special tours are offered the first Saturday of each month for visitors who are hearing impaired. Visitor’s guides are available in several foreign languages, including Spanish, French, German and Chinese.
The museum has an on-site paid parking garage. The entrance is located on C Street, NW. The Newseum is within walking distance of the Archive/Navy Memorial/Penn Quarter Metro stop on the Green and Yellow lines as well as the Red line Judiciary Square stop. Serving dishes inspired by famed chef Wolfgang Puck, a restaurant on the concourse level is open for lunch.
While the Newseum is dedicated to the First Amendment, the National Archives houses and displays the actual document. You can view the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as well as one of the original copies of the Magna Carta.
The National Gallery of Art displays a collection of paintings, sculptures and other priceless works that chronicle the history of the Western decorative arts from the Middle Ages to the present. Key pieces include the only work by Leonardo da Vinci in the New World as well as self-portraits by Rembrandt and van Gogh. Jackson Pollack and Andy Warhol are just two of many American artists whose works are on display.
Designed by J. Massey Rhind, the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial features bronze figures and a triangular granite shaft atop a concrete base. The bronze reliefs depict figures representing a Union soldier and sailor during the Civil War as well as female figures embodying the concepts of loyalty and charity. The memorial is one of 18 Civil War monuments in the city.
The U.S. Navy Memorial honors current and past members of the naval service as well as members of the Marines, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine. It features the famous Lone Sailor statue carved by Stanley Bleifeld. The memorial also includes the Granite Sea, a replica of the world’s oceans, and 26 bronze reliefs commemorating various important events and influential individuals in the history of the sea service.