Posted by: William | April 12, 2008

The Newseum

Yesterday was the grand opening of the Washington DC “Newseum”. The ordinary admission fee of $20 was waived for all the first day visitors. I’m not generally the type to go to a museum, let alone pay $20 to get in. So, the freebie day was really the kicker.

I got a phone call early in the morning from a friend who’d seen on the news that the opening day was free and invited me to join him to explore the new attraction. We got there at about 11am to meet a line about a block long steadily filing into the building. Once in, we were urged to go straight down the lower level where we got to get a good up-close look at the largest intact section of the Berlin Wall, as well as an entire guard tower. On the same level were an assortment of theaters showing all kinds of interesting films and a huge food court which we didn’t take advantage of.

From the bottom floor we got onto one of the world’s largest hydraulic glass elevators which took us all the way up to the top level. From the top level we could get a great look at a very large piece of mangled metal from the World Trade Center. The exhibit was surrounded by an excellent tribute to the lives lost, as well as front pages from news papers all over the world on September 11th. On the same level was also an extremely inspiring exhibit explaining and introducing the five rights guaranteed to all Americans.

Throughout the rest of the floors there were all kinds of extremely interesting and interactive exhibits. One that particularly stood out to me was dedicated to photo journalism. A lot of photo memorabilia has been donated, including a war-time photographer’s truck—complete with bullet and shrapnel holes. Nearby there’s also an extremely large world map showing what parts of the world enjoy freedom of press and which parts don’t. Not too far from there, there also stands a huge list of photographers and journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

By far though, the most stirring exhibit in the whole museum was a hall filled with a huge number (maybe even all) of Pulitzer Prize winning photographs. It was hard to do much else but just look in awe at some of the most painful and joyful moments in the past eighty years. Right in the middle of the exhibit also sits a small theater looping interviews with the different photographers.

There is so much more to describe, but because of the free admission and the hundreds and hundreds of people there, it was difficult to really get a good look at each exhibit. All in all, if you have a free afternoon, I highly recommend you making a trip to the Newseum in Washington DC. It will definitely make for a memorable adventure.

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