Location within Washington, D.C.
Established April 18, 1997
Location 555 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C., USA
Coordinates 38°53′36″N 77°01′09″W / 38.893219°N 77.01924°W / 38.893219; -77.01924
Director Jeffrey Herbst, President and CEO
Public transit access          

The Newseum is an interactive museum that promotes free expression and the five freedoms of the First Amendment, while tracing the evolution of print and electronic communication from our nation’s earliest days to the technologies of the present and the future.[1] The modern seven-level, 250,000-square-foot (23,000 m2) museum is located at 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, in Washington, D.C. features 15 theaters and 15 galleries. The Newseum's Berlin Wall Gallery includes the largest display of sections of the Berlin Wall outside of Germany. The Today's Front Pages Gallery presents daily front pages from more than 80 international newspapers. Other galleries present topics including the First Amendment, world press freedom, news history, the September 11 attacks, and the history of the Internet, TV, and radio. It opened at its first location in Rosslyn, Virginia, on April 18, 1997, and on April 11, 2008, it opened to the public in its current location.

Its mission is to promote, explain and defend free expression and the five freedoms of the First Amendment: religion, speech, press, assembly and petition.

The new Newseum has become one of Washington's most popular destinations, attracting more than 815,000 visitors a year, and its high definition television studios hosts news broadcasts. The adult admission fee (in 2016) is $22.95 plus tax ($24.27 after tax).[2] Despite such high admission fees, however, it has had a years of financial losses. In 2013, the museum lost more than $4 million on revenue of $63 million.[3]


The original Newseum in Arlington, now home to an art gallery and theater.
Aerial view of the Newseum
Each day's newspaper front pages from around the world are put on display outside the Newseum.
The Barco screen displays historical images and breaking news from around the world.

In 2000, Freedom Forum decided to move the Newseum from its location in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River to downtown Washington, D.C. The original Newseum was closed on March 3, 2002, to allow its staff to concentrate on building the new, larger museum. The new museum, built at a cost of $450 million, opened its doors to the public on April 11, 2008.[4][5]

Tim Russert, a Newseum trustee, said, "The Newseum made a pretty good impression in Arlington, but at your new location on Pennsylvania Avenue, you will make an indelible mark."

The newest Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue shares a prime block adjacent to the Canadian Embassy.

After obtaining a landmark location at Pennsylvania Avenue and Sixth Street NW, the former site of National Hotel, the Newseum board selected noted exhibit designer Ralph Appelbaum, who had designed the original Newseum in Arlington, Virginia, and architect James Stewart Polshek, who designed the Rose Center for Earth and Space with Todd Schliemann at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, to work on the new project.

This design team had the following goals:

Highlights of the building design unveiled October 2002 include a façade featuring a "window on the world", 57 ft × 78 ft (17 m × 24 m), which looks out on Pennsylvania Avenue and the National Mall while letting the public see inside to the visitors and displays. It features the 45 words of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, etched into a four story tall stone panel facing Pennsylvania Avenue.

One feature carried over from the prior Arlington site was the Journalists Memorial, a glass sculpture which lists the names of 2,291 journalists from around the world killed in the line of duty. It is updated and rededicated every year.

The museum website is updated daily with images and PDF versions of newspaper front pages from around the world. Images are replaced daily, but an archive of front pages from notable events since 2001 is also available. Hard copies of selected front pages, including one from every U.S. state and Washington, D.C., are displayed in galleries within the museum and outside the front entrance.[6] Unlike its original museum in Arlington, the new Newseum charges admission fees to the general public.[7]

Jerry Frieheim, a 1956 graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, was the first executive director of the Newseum and claims to have coined the name.[8]

Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School students are admitted to the Newseum free of charge, as Smith's son, Robert H. Smith, was a founding partner of the Newseum.


The 643,000-square-foot (60,000 m²) Newseum includes a 90-foot (27 m) high atrium, seven levels of displays, 15 theaters, a dozen major galleries, many more smaller exhibits, two broadcast studios, and an expanded interactive newsroom. The structural engineer for this project was Leslie E. Robertson Associates. .

The building features the oval, 500-seat Walter and Leonore Annenberg Theater; approximately 145,500 square feet (14,000 m²) gross of housing facing Sixth and C streets; 75,000 square feet (7,000 m²) of office space for the staff of the Newseum and Freedom Forum; and more than 11,000 square feet (1,000 m²) of conference center space on two levels located directly above the Newseum Atrium. The building is also known for the largest and tallest hydraulic passenger elevators in the world, with a capacity of 18,000 pounds capable of carrying up to 72 passengers when fully loaded, and a travel distance of 100 feet that covers 7 floors. A curving glass memorial to slain journalists is located above the ground floor.[9]

Showcase environments throughout the museum are climate controlled by four microclimate control devices. These units provide a flow of humidified air to the cases through a system of distribution pipes.

ABC's This Week began broadcasting from a new studio in the Newseum on April 20, 2008, with George Stephanopoulos as host.[10] ABC moved This Week back to its Washington, D.C. bureau at the began on June, 2013 citing the network's infrequent use of the Newseum studio compared to the cost of operating and maintaining a studio there. The studio was later home to Al Jazeera America's Washington, D.C. bureau which also had editing facilities and office space in the Newseum.[11] Until the channel's shutdown, Al Jazeera America broadcast its flagship newsmagazine show America Tonight and Compass With Sheila MacVicar nightly and on weeknights from the studio.

Sharing the building with the Newseum are The Source, a Wolfgang Puck Restaurant, and the Newseum Residences, a collection of 135 luxury apartment homes.[12] The building's amenities include a rooftop terrace, which shares the Newseum's views of the National Mall, Washington Monument and the United States Capitol.

Critical response

The Newseum is very popular with the general public but has received mixed reviews from journalists. The website TripAdvisor ranks it 7th out of 247 attractions in the Washington area, as one of the top 25 museums in the U.S., and its contributors rate it 4.5 out of 5 stars.[13] Reviewers on the website Yelp also give the Newseum high marks.[14] The San Francisco Bay Guardian described it as "the most comprehensive, evocative look at the power and responsibility of the journalist under one roof that our country has yet produced."[15] The Sunday Times ranked it one of the "world's 12 coolest museums".[16] The Dallas Morning News praised its interactive exhibits and said " While the free Smithsonian museums do a fine job of housing our important artifacts, I believe the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue does an unparalleled job of telling our nation's story. " [17]

Other reviewers were more critical. The New York Times' Architecture Review panned the second Newseum building as "the latest reason to lament the state of contemporary architecture in" Washington, D.C.[18] Of the Newseum's actual content, the Times stated that "a good portion of the museum’s earnestly sought attention is well deserved",[19] but "the museum’s preening does call for some skepticism".[20] USA Today repeated "mixed" reviews of the building's architecture and cited the number of visitors as a sign that the Newseum is a "success as a destination in the museum-rich national capital".[21]

Hank Greenspun Terrace

An exhibit at the Newseum discusses the "effort to avoid bias" by journalists. It includes a 2006 Gallup poll in which 44% of Americans called the media "too liberal" while only 19% found it "too conservative" as well as other comments on possible political media bias, many of which come from Fox News contributors. Jonathan Schwarz of Mother Jones criticized the exhibit and called it an example of corporate propaganda from Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. He also argued that most of the U.S. news media is controlled by businesses who shut out stories that would counter their interests.[22] Kevin D. Williamson of National Review Online defended the Newseum and called the criticism "nonsense concentrate". He argued that media-owning companies have an interest in promoting non-conservative causes such as protectionism and of shifting their health care costs over to the government.[23]

James Bowman of National Review Online criticised the Newseum after its opening for being overly stylistic and superficial, writing that it focuses on headline-based reporting of major world events rather than details of the events themselves. He commented, "[a]ll this interacting is supposed to make learning fun, but like most such exercises it does so only by taking away most of what makes it learning." He also stated that the targeted advertising towards children was "squaring the cultural circle" and was unethical.[24]

Journalist Alan Rusbridger of The Guardian stated that visitors would have "a great family day out". He considered some of the exhibits, such as a red dress worn by Helen Thomas, as "faintly ridiculous" while praising others such as a large chunk of the actual Berlin Wall. Although writing that the Newseum displayed "self-glorification, pomposity and vanity" in an "overwhelmingly American-centric" way, he described the building design as "uplifting" and generally commended the features.[25]

Jack Shafer, co-editor of Slate, has criticized the Newseum's exhibit about the career of the late NBC reporter Tim Russert. He argued that Russert's "mundane" work-space was not worthy of preservation in a museum and that Russert's accomplishments "begin at being a pretty good interviewer and end at having a lot of celebrity friends." He concluded that the Newseum is "a place where journalist celebrities begin to be worshipped as miracle-producing saints."[26]

Bonnie Wach writing for SFGate praised the Newseum's content and interactivity. "The Newseum, which opened in 2008, is a soaring glass-and-marble edifice devoted to 500 years of news and the people who made it. It takes us all of about five minutes inside to figure out that the "world's most interactive" title is no boast. To say that this place is a marvel of technological innovation is like saying teenage girls found Elvis attractive. Seven floors of touch-screens, theaters, film and video, state-of-the-art studios, computer games, interactive kiosks, documentary footage and hands-on multimedia exhibits are enough to give even my iPod-obsessed son, Rowan, a cramp in his very limber index finger."[27]

Al Aqsa TV controversy

In the May 2013 rededication ceremony of the Journalist Memorial, the Newseum first decided to honor two Al Aqsa TV members as part of the memorial, and then withdrew them after criticism from pro-Israeli organizations.[28] After a year-long review of the circumstances surrounding their deaths, the Newseum, in partnership with other journalism organizations decided their names would remain on the Journalists Memorial wall.[29]

Ilene Prusher, columnist for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, said that the Newseum stepped into the "minefield" of the Arab–Israeli conflict. Al-Aqsa TV is affiliated with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and they were killed by Israeli fire in a car marked "TV". Israeli Defense Forces spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich, said that they were killed deliberately, not accidentally, because they "have relevance to terror activity.”[30] After pro-Israel groups, such as the Anti-Defamation League, said that they were not journalists but terrorists, the Newseum first defended the decision and then reversed itself.

Nearly all journalistic organizations hold that the men were killed in the line of duty, including the Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, the International Federation of Journalists and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers. Human Rights Watch said that their investigation in Gaza showed no evidence that the men were involved in militant activity. NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel said at the Newseum’s dedication ceremony that it was difficult to draw the line, and several reporters on the list were Syrians who were also activists who were trying to topple Bashar al-Assad's government.[31] David Carr of the New York Times said that "the evidence so far suggests that they were journalists, however partisan.”[32]

Permanent exhibits

May 2, 2009 - Pete Souza, chief White House photographer prepares for a live interview in one of the broadcast studios inside the Newseum
The Unabomber's cabin at the Newseum

The New York Times—Ochs-Sulzberger Family Great Hall: Located in the atrium, a 90-foot-high screen shows the latest headlines from around the globe. A satellite replica and a Bell helicopter (formerly used by KXAS-TV in Dallas) are also suspended in the atrium.[33]

News Corporation News History Gallery: A timeline showcases the extensive collection of newspapers and magazines. Touch-screen computers house hundreds of digitized publications, allowing for close-up viewing, as well as interactive games, and access to a database of journalists. Hundreds of artifacts and memorabilia from remarkable news events are in cases around the gallery.[34] Included in this gallery is a 1603 English broadsheet showing the coronation of James I; a 1787 copy of The Maryland Gazette containing the new United States Constitution; The Charleston Mercury’s 1860 extra enthusiastically proclaiming, “The Union Is Dissolved!”; a copy of the 1948 Chicago Daily Tribune mistakenly announcing, “Dewey Defeats Truman.”[35]

NBC News Interactive Newsroom: The Interactive Newsroom lets visitors play the role of a photojournalist, editor, reporter, or anchor.[36] Touch-screen stations provide simulated tools and techniques needed to be in the broadcast business. Visitors can also pick up a microphone and step in front of the camera.[37]

In this interactive element, visitors are encouraged to write their experiences down and then they are projected for other visitors to read.

9/11 Gallery Sponsored by Comcast: This gallery explores the coverage of Sept. 11, 2001. A tribute to photojournalist William Biggart, who died covering the attacks, is included. Visitors get to hear his story and see some of the final photographs he took. A giant wall is covered with worldwide front pages published the following morning. A film gives additional first-person accounts from reporters and photographers who covered the story.[38]

Bloomberg Internet, TV and Radio Gallery: News increases as technology improves. This gallery traces the evolution of electronic media. Two 25-foot (7.6 m) high media walls show memorable television clips, a multimedia timeline, and a memorial to Edward R. Murrow.[39]

Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery: The Newseum has put on display the most comprehensive collection of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs ever gathered. It includes every Pulitzer Prize winning entry since 1942. Many of the photographers are interviewed in a documentary film, providing context for the pictures and insight into their craft. Some photographs included are: Marines raising Old Glory on Iwo Jima, the joyful reunion of a returning prisoner of war and his family, a firefighter cradling a mortally-injured infant after the Oklahoma City bombing.[40] Visitors can access a database of 300 video clips, 400 audio clips and 1,000 prize photos.[36] The gallery underwent a month long renovation and reopened in September 2016 with an updated display of 40 large-scale photographs tracing the history of the award.[41]

Berlin Wall Gallery: The Newseum has procured the largest display of the original wall outside of Germany. There are eight 12-foot (3.7 m) high concrete sections of wall, each weighing about three tons, and a three-story East German guard tower from Checkpoint Charlie (or "Checkpoint C"), the name given by Western Allies to Berlin's best-known East-West crossing.[42]

Exhibit of historic newspapers at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

Cox Enterprises First Amendment Gallery: This gallery explores the role that the First Amendment’s guarantee of rights (religion, speech, press, assembly and petition) [36] has played in the United States over the past 200 years. The exhibit presents historical news clips that exemplify the five freedoms. "Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press," said Thomas Jefferson, "and that cannot be limited without being lost."[43]

Time Warner World News Gallery: In this gallery, a large map, rating 190 countries,[36] illustrates the differences in press freedom around the world. Newspaper Headlines and international television feeds are available for examination. International journalists who risked their lives on the job are also heralded here.[44]

Today's Front Pages Gallery: The Newseum receives digital submissions of over 700 front pages from around the world. Roughly 80 are enlarged and printed for display in this space and additional papers line the entrance of the building. One from every state and the District of Columbia is chosen as well as a sampling of international newspapers.[45]

FBI Exhibit: The "Inside Today's FBI" exhibit gives visitors a view into the FBI's work, with a focus on the fight against terrorism and cybercrime in the post 9/11 world. Artifacts in the exhibit include the Unabomber's cabin, a car belonging to the 9/11 hijackers that was found abandoned in a Virginia airport parking lot, engine parts from the plane that crashed into the World Trade Center South Tower on 9/11, and running shoes belonging to a Boston Globe reporter who went from running in the Boston Marathon to covering the terrorist attack.[46]

Daniel Pearl's passport at the Newseum

Journalists Memorial: Journalists face danger more often than one might think. They take calculated risks, sometimes paying the ultimate price.[47] This exhibit displays artifacts from hazardous journalistic missions. Included is the laptop computer used by Daniel Pearl, the bloodstained notebook of Michael Weisskopf, and the 1976 Datsun 710 belonging to Don Bolles that was bombed in Phoenix, Arizona. Also featured is a sobering display of more than 1,800 names written in a glass tablet, marking the deaths of those who died in pursuit of the news[48] The gallery also contains photographs of hundreds of those journalists and access to more detailed information on every honored journalist.[47]

Master Control Center'

Hank Greenspun Terrace on Pennsylvania Avenue: The Newseum terrace offers a panoramic view of Washington, DC overlooking one of America's most iconic streets, Pennsylvania Avenue. The view includes landmarks and monuments such as the U.S. Capitol, the National Gallery of Art, the National Archives and the Washington Monument. On the terrace visitors can read about the events that played a role in developing Pennsylvania Avenue, from presidential parades and funeral processions to celebrations and protests.[49] The 2009 Obama Inauguration parade was covered by cable news outlets from the Terrace.[50]

The Bancroft Family Ethics Center: In the Ethics Center, computers allow you to debate journalistic dilemmas and compare your answers with reporters and other visitors.[51]

Financial woes

Despite a significant revenue stream of rents, museum admissions, and event fees, the Newseum loses significant amounts of money.[3][52][53][54] In 2013, the museum lost more than $4 million on revenue of $63 million. The private foundation that runs the museum has had losses for several years, which has led to some controversial proposals to set things right.[55] The issue reaches back to the Washington location's very construction, which had significant cost overruns.[56]

See also


  1. "About | Newseum". Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  2. "Tickets | Newseum". Retrieved 2016-05-31.
  3. 1 2 (PDF) | 2013 990 Tax Return | 2013 990 Tax Return Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 2016-08-28. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. Gaynair, Gillian (2008-02-07). "Newseum Sets Opening Date". Washington Business Journal.
  5. Zongker, Brett (2008-04-10). "Newseum to Open in New Home Friday". Associated Press. Archived from the original on April 14, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-11.
  6. "Archived Pages". Newseum. Retrieved 2008-06-22.
  7. "Tickets". Newseum. Retrieved 2008-04-30.
  8. "Mizzou: The Magazine of the Mizzou Alumni Association, Winter 2009". University of Missouri Alumni Association. Retrieved 2008-11-18.
  9. Lebovich, William (March 9, 2008). "Newseum by Polshek". ArchitectureWeek. Retrieved March 4, 2010.
  10. Venkataraman, Nitya (April 10, 2008). "New Museum Tells Media Story". ABC News. Retrieved March 4, 2010.
  11. "ABC's 'This Week' Moving Out of the Newseum, Al Jazeera America Moving In".
  12. Chappell, Carisa. "The Inside Scoop on The Newseum Residences". Retrieved 2013-01-18.
  13. "Newseum". TripAdvisor. Retrieved March 4, 2010.
  14. "Newseum". Yelp. Retrieved March 4, 2010.
  15. Donohue, Caitlin (March 3, 2010). "DC's Newseum is a real headliner". San Francisco Bay Guardian Online. Retrieved March 4, 2010.
  16. Newsom, Sean; Vincent Crump (October 18, 2009). "The world's 12 coolest museums". The Sunday Times. London.
  17. Landauer, Michael (2010-07-03). "The power of Washington, D.C., is in its stories, not inside its buildings". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2011-06-14.
  18. Ourousoff, Nicolai (2008-04-11). "Get Me Rewrite: A New Monument to Press Freedom". Architecture Review. The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-24.
  19. Rothstein, Edward (2008-04-11). "Chasing the News: Mark Twain's Inkwell to Blogger's Slippers". The New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved 2008-04-24.
  20. Rothstein, Edward (2008-04-11). "Chasing the News: Mark Twain's Inkwell to Blogger's Slippers". The New York Times. p. 2. Retrieved 2008-04-24.
  21. Puente, Maria (2008-04-03). "Massive Newseum opens window on journalism". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-04-30.
  22. Schwarz, Jonathan (April 14, 2008). ""Bias" At The New Newseum". Mother Jones. Retrieved January 4, 2010.
  23. Williamson, Kevin D. (April 16, 2008). "Newseum's Bias Discussion". National Review Online. Retrieved January 4, 2010.
  24. Bowman, James (April 11, 2008). "Media Monument". National Review Online. Retrieved January 4, 2009.
  25. Alan Rusbridger (2 April 2008). "Washington DC's Newseum opens its doors". The Guardian: OrganGrinder. Retrieved 4 January 2010. External link in |publisher= (help)
  26. Jack Shafer (October 8, 2009). "The Newseum's Tim Russert Shrine". Slate. Retrieved January 5, 2010.
  27. Wach, Bonnie (July 4, 2010). "D.C. in the Digital Age". San Francisco Chronicle. SFGate.
  28. "Spotlight On Al Aqsa Television". Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  29. "Journalists Memorial". Newseum. Retrieved 2 Feb 2015.
  30. Using War as Cover to Target Journalists, By DAVID CARR, New York Times, November 25, 2012
  31. One man’s terrorist, another man’s freedom fighter - or journalist, by Ilene Prusher, Haaretz, May.17, 2013
  32. David Carr Defends Slain Journalists Claim; Israeli accounts challenged the Times columnist’s criticism of Israel for strikes that killed two men he described as journalists. Buzzfeed, November 26, 2012
  33. "The New York Times–Ochs-Sulzberger Family Great Hall of News". The Newseum. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  34. "News Corporation News History Gallery". The Newseum. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  35. Rothstein, Edward (April 11, 2008). "Chasing the News: Mark Twain's Inkwell to Blogger's Slippers". The New York Times. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  36. 1 2 3 4 "Newseum - Washington, DC Museum of News". Guide. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  37. "NBC News Interactive Newsroom". The Newseum. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  38. "9/11 Gallery Sponsored by Comcast". The Newseum. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  39. "Bloomberg Internet, TV and Radio Gallery". The Newseum. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  40. "Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery". The Newseum. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  41. Newseum. "Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery Reopens | Newseum". Retrieved 2016-10-11.
  42. "Berlin Wall Gallery". The Newseum. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  43. "Cox Enterprises First Amendment Gallery". The Newseum. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  44. "Time Warner World News Gallery". The Newseum. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  45. "Today's Front Pages Gallery". The Newseum. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  46. "ABC News Changing Exhibits: "Inside Today's FBI" | Newseum". Retrieved 2016-10-11.
  47. 1 2 "Journalists Memorial". The Newseum. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  48. "Review of Newseum". Publishing, Inc. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  49. "Hank Greenspun Terrace on Pennsylvania Avenue". The Newseum. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  50. "Live from the set of the Newseum – it's cold!". CNN. January 17, 2009. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  51. "The Bancroft Family Ethics Center". The Newseum. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  52. The Washington Post | Can Ron Burgundy save the Newseum? | Can Ron Burgundy save the Newseum? Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 2016-08-28. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  53. The Poynter Institute | Newseum CEO James Duff leaves | Newseum CEO James Duff leaves Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 2016-08-28. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  54. Nonprofit Quarterly | Newseum, Like Many Museums, Unable to Move Beyond the Economic Crisis | Newseum, Like Many Museums, Unable to Move Beyond the Economic Crisis Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 2016-08-28. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  55. The Washington Post | Heavily in debt, Newseum considered risky strategy to improve finances | Heavily in debt, Newseum considered risky strategy to improve finances Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 2016-08-28. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  56. Gannett Blog | All shook up: As Newseum's operating costs soared to $250,000 a day, Freedom Forum's finances sank | All shook up: As Newseum's operating costs soared to $250,000 a day, Freedom Forum's finances sank Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 2016-08-28. Missing or empty |title= (help)

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