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12 October 2010
Walt has a guide book for here which says to allow "at least 3 hours" to visit the new Newseum, the history of news and a celebration of freedom of the press.
You can hardly get off the first floor in under 3 hours. It's no wonder that your $20 ticket (this is a privately owned museum, not under the auspices of the Smithsonian, the entrance to whose buildings are free) gets you not one, but two days admittance to the building. Believe me, you'll want two days there.
But first...we got up early in the morning and went with Jeri & Phil, Norm and Olivia to the Tastee Diner, an old hangout for the Sykes kids when they were growing up.
They reputedly had a "short stack," which would be great for Phil.
(it turns out they didn't and he had an omelet, but who cared?)
The booths only sit four but the aisle between is tiny and so we sat 3 on one side and 3 on the other (and yes, Lawsuit folks, we did do "3 on that side, 3 on this") Jeri read us all the day's Spiderman comic.
Then on to the Newseum, which is located on Pennsylvania Ave., right in view of the Capitol.
You start in the basement with introductory films. We saw two, one on how best to explore the museum and one on the the importance of news gathering. From there we checked a display about the fall of the Soviet Union, walked around a section of the Berlin Wall,
stopped at the food court to get something to drink, since we were thirsty. Then on to the Sports area where there were some of the most amazing sports photos. I just marveled at this one of Serena Williams--my snapshot does not begin to do it justice.
They recommend that you start on the 6th floor and work down, so we did. From there is an amazing view of Pennsylvania Ave., with the Canadian Embassy off on the left.
On the top floor inside is a display about Katrina, and the coverage of it. It was so nice to see things not whitewashed, with reporters like Anderson Cooper and Brian Williams and many others still expressing outrage at the lack of government response. There were film clips, photos, and artifacts. I was taken with this reporter's camera, which was found in some house after the flood waters receded, with a frog making its home in the lens.
Also the interpretation of two pictures, which appeared in different newspapers.
(it was never about race....nahhh. And I have a bridge to sell you...!)
There is a huge area of archives, along with three different films on several aspects of news gathering, ethics dilemmas (the problem of using anonymous sources, etc.) Every one more interesting than the next.
I wanted to get to the fourth floor, where you could see Tim Russert's office.
On that same floor is the 911 exhibit which is overpowering.
The structure is the media tower that sat atop one of the buildings and the wall is covered with front pages of newspapers from around the country. In the little door at the lower left is a room where you can see a film of the attack, and which contained film, interviews and photos I'd never seen before and reports from reporters who covered the story. I was so impressed with the professionalism of those reporters and photographers who were intent on getting the story at whatever risk to their own lives. Just before you enter there is a box of tissues on a ledge. If you visit the museum, take one. You'll need it.
We were getting hungry so we took a lunch break and then there was not much time left to see it. There were floors of the museum I never got to. Next time I'll allow a full day, not just half a day to see it.
We had already checked out of the hotel, but went back to pick up our bags and head off to the Metro with Alice Nan and Joe to ride out to Gaithersburg, where we were spending the night with the bride's parents.
We had a lovely dinner here and celebrated Joe's birthday.
Then the men settled in to watch football.
I was so exhausted, I lay down on the bed to stretch out my leg and didn't notice when the other guests left or when Lucille fired up her computer (with wifi). I ultimately moved to the couch, where I slept the first good sleep since we got here!
PHOTO OF THE DAY