The setting, in a dramatic glass-and-silver structure on Pennsylvania Avenue, smack between the White House and the Capitol, is a fitting location for a museum devoted to the First Amendment and the role of a free press in democracy. Visitors enter the 90-foot-high media-saturated atrium, overlooked by a giant breaking-news screen and a news helicopter suspended overhead. From there, 15 galleries display 500 years of news history, including exhibits on the First Amendment;
global news; the rise of multimedia; and how radio, TV, and the Internet transformed worldwide news dissemination. The FBI exhibit attracts big crowds with more than 200 artifacts, including the Unabomber's cabin, Patty Hearst's coat and gun, and photos, historic news clippings and interactive displays on the equally cooperative and combative relationship between the FBI and the news media. The space and exhibits are high-tech, multimedia, and sometimes shamelessly fun; although there also are heart-rending images of 9/11 and the Journalists Memorial, honoring journalists killed while reporting the news.
The largest piece of the Berlin wall outside Germany, including a guard tower, is permanently installed in an exhibit explaining how a free press was a key contributor to the fall of the wall.
Fifteen state-of-the art theaters, including an eye-popping "4-D" theater and another with a 90-foot-long screen, show features, news, sports, and documentaries throughout the day.
In the Interactive Newsroom you can play the role of journalist, try your hand at investigative reporting to solve a mysterious animal breakout at the zoo, or, step behind a camera and try to capture the most compelling photograph of a river rescue.
Evocative press photos are on display at the Pulitzer Prize Photographs gallery.
Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck designed the menu for the food court, as well as for the well-reviewed restaurant The Source, adjoining the museum.
The best way to tour the museum is by viewing the orientation films on the concourse level, then taking the elevator up to the top floor and working your way down.
Tickets for the Newseum are valid for two consecutive days.
The top-floor terrace offers one of the best views of the Capitol and looks directly down onto Pennsylvania Avenue.