Saturday, March 28, 2009

Playing Tourist: The Newseum

There is a good thing about dreary, rainy days: it is a perfect excuse to go to a museum. In DC, we are spoiled with so many great, free museums that we might overlook the ones with an admission fee. Fortunately, Alex got free tickets to the Newseum, which usually costs $20 a person, through his job.

Overall, I would say that I was really impressed. The experience was sensory overload, but in a good way. Everywhere you walked there were video clips playing on multiple high definition screens of all sizes, radio broadcasts overtaking the airwaves, hundreds of vivid images lining the walls, and dozens interactive exhibits. At first it was a little overwhelming, but then you realize that you get your money's worth because you have enough really great exhibits to keep busy for hours, and even multiple trips back.

Among my favorite things at the Newseum were:
  • The 100-foot big screen showing a montage of the most important news clips during our lifetime. It is really incredible to realize what you have lived through in such a short time.
  • The 9-11 Gallery which included a movie describing how journalists reported that day. Even though I remember watching the news that day, the images on this video were very powerful and everyone watching teared up. I especially think being younger and removed on the West Coast did not allow me to fully comprehend the magnitude eight years ago.
  • The Pulitzer Prize Photograph Gallery, especially with images from the Vietnam War.
  • The Berlin Wall Gallery which included 8 sections of the Berlin Wall and an East German watchtower.
  • Everything related to the First Amendment.
  • The layout which was airy and spacious. The patio, which had a perfect view of the Capitol and Pennsylvania Avenue was really cool too.
. . . And there was so much more. As much as I can hate the news sometimes, the Newseum does remind you of what an important role it plays. One of the walls had a quote saying: Journalism is the first draft of history. So true.

So, if you have a full day, I highly recommend going it so that you can try to see as much as possible. I spent three hours there, and I would go back.

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