I spotted Elvis at the Newseum…almost

Posted by Albers Communications on June 2, 2010 | Comments (2)

Last week while I was in Washington, D.C., I lived up to my reputation and snuck in some sightseeing.

I had a small window in my schedule prior to my flight home, so the Newseum was calling my name. I had been there once before but as someone who loves the news business, it’s a hard temptation to resist.

I’ll state up front that both of my visits to the Newseum were too brief to do the place justice. I recommend that you plan at least three to four hours for your visit, and even that isn’t enough time considering there are six levels of exhibits, including several theaters.

I recommend taking the one-hour free tour of the museum upon first arriving, and then going back to spend more time at the exhibits that most interest you.

For me, the highlights at the Newseum are:

The Building
It is airy, modern and full of natural light. Very large glass elevators ascend from the first floor, which features eight sections of the Berlin Wall on display, all the way up to the sixth floor that houses a terrace with an outstanding view of the Capitol. It’s the same view that you see on ABC’s This Week each Sunday morning.

The 9/11 Gallery
Our tour guide pointed out that this permanent exhibit is not a memorial, rather a tribute to the news coverage from that tragic day. At the center of the display is a large broadcasting tower that had been mounted at the top of the Twin Towers, surrounded by an AP news timeline and photography from that day. Newspaper front pages from all over the world cover a large facing wall.

Tim Russert’s Office
As a big fan of Tim Russert’s, I enjoyed the opportunity to see where he worked (they recreated his office on the fourth floor of the Newseum). Under glass they had a couple of the “white marker” boards on display that Russert made famous the night of the 2000 presidential election.

Today’s Front Pages
On the outside of the Newseum, each day they display front pages from newspapers representing each state. The day I was there, the Nebraska newspaper on display was the Sidney Sun-Telegraph. Of course, as a public relations person, I think how incredible it would be to have access to the front pages of literally every daily newspaper in the world.

Big Screen Theater
The Newseum’s Big Screen Theater features the widest movie screen I have ever seen. Previously I visited during the presidential election season and the Big Screen was showing excerpts from famous inaugural speeches. This time around, Elvis was on the Big Screen as part of a special exhibit. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to stay for the show.

I have heard some people complain about the $21 entrance fee for the Newseum. Of course that’s a lot of money compared to the many free museums in D.C., but to me it’s worth the $21.

If I could change one thing about the Newseum, it would be to have more information and space dedicated to the dramatic changes that have taken place in the news business the past couple of years. However, I understand that the Newseum’s mission is to document the history of the news business and the current chapter is still being written.

If you have a chance to visit the Newseum, I encourage you to go. I know I will return.




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