It was a day I’ve literally waited 6 years for… that’s how long it’s been since my last visit to the Newseum, when it was at Gannett HQ in Arlington.  After closing for construction, the Newseum finally reopened earlier this year on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, between the Capitol and the White House (with a clear view to Capitol Hill).  In case you couldn’t guess from the name, and context, it is Gannett’s museum of news and news-gathering.

There is so much to recommend there – “Stories of our Lives”, a fast-paced walk through the major stories of the 80s through now — on a huge (100-foot) screen… the News Gallery, with preserved front pages showing how just about every major event since 1455 (!) was reported… Today’s Front Pages (which can be viewed online at the Newseum website)… a section of the Berlin Wall, and a fully-relocated guard tower (that you can stand in and look up into the killing box at the top)… and this…

The centerpiece of the Newseum's 9/11 gallery
The centerpiece of the Newseum's 9/11 gallery

It’s a surviving piece of the television broadcast antenna from the World Trade Center in New York.

On the wall in the background are front pages, from around the world, from Sept. 11-12, 2001.  That entrance you can see right behind the antenna is to a movie detailing how the news was gathered that day (with reporters from WNYC radio and WABC television in New York featured)… and off to the right, a display of pictures taken by photojournalist William Biggart.  Including the last one before the World Trade Center fell on him.  Biggart’s widow also donated all of the cameras and paraphenalia that survived the disaster.  Parts of the Pentagon and Pennsylvania crash sites are also in the gallery.

You *will* spend a full day there, if you go — and you should.  It’s convenient to all Metro lines.  Richmonders can drive up to Franconia/Springfield and take the 35-minute Blue Line ride to Metro Center and walk over.

Edit:1/15/09 to fix Newseum link.


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