Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Vacation 2010: The Newseum in Washington, D.C.

The Capitol

the daytrippers: when we weren’t eating, drinking and laughing with my family in Baltimore, my parents and i managed to squeeze in a daytrip to Washington, D.C., which is roughly a 90-minute car ride away. we split up when we got there, with my folks heading to the Smithsonian Museum to drool over the Hope Diamond and me heading to The Newseum to drool over the museum for journalism.

Congress Shall Make No Law...

congress shall make no law: i cannot recommend this place enough. as someone with a degree in journalism, visiting a place that celebrates the news so enthusiastically was thrilling. here, i was the proverbial kid in the candy store, ambling excitedly through the exhibitions and turning occasionally to strangers to exclaim, “isn’t this awesome?”

Headlines Gone Wrong

among the awesomeness: the restrooms in the Newseum were tiled with headlines gone wrong that were hilarious enough to make me consider sneaking into the men’s bathroom to read more doozies.

Three Kinds of People

equally awesome: the walls of the place were peppered with quotes about journalism that made me smile wide with dumb pride. another one i particularly liked: “If the First Amendment means anything, it means that a state has no business telling a man, sitting alone in his own house, what books he may read or what films he may watch.” — Justice Thurgood Marshall, U.S. Supreme Court

Berlin Wall Sections

the exhibitions: none of them were the least bit partisan beyond advocating for complete freedom of the press. most of the major exhibitions centered on the biggest news events of our time, such as the fall of communism and the dismantling of the Berlin Wall. sections of the wall were on display as was the pen Mikhail Gorbachev used to sign a treatise that effectively ended the Soviet era.

9/11 Front Pages

another headliner: given that my visit occurred in early september, about a week before the ninth anniversary of 9/11, seeing this collection of front pages from 9/12 made it feel as though it just happened. the exhibition also featured a mangled piece of metal from one of the collapsed Twin Towers.

9/11 Exhibition

Katrina Relics

another disaster: Katrina was the subject of another exhibition and featured several relics, many of which were visibly water damaged. a wall of front pages after the disaster was also included.

X Marks Your House

Elvis Stands Guard at Newseum

all shook up: i didn’t really understand why Elvis Presley had his own exhibition here (and why it was so heavily trafficked). i get that he was a newsmaker, but doesn’t he have his own museum already — a place called Graceland? take note, Newseum curators. let’s keep out the fluff, ‘k?

Newsboy Caps

speaking of fluff: the gift store at the Newseum was full of awesome, featuring famous framed front pages (“Dewey Beats Truman”) and newsy knickknacks, such as a mug that read, “Not tonight, dear. I’m on deadline.” i thought the newsboy caps were a particularly brilliant addition.


Dope Floors at Katrina Exhibition

also brilliant: the design of the building, WOW. it was stunning from every angle, inside and out. the Newseum is on Pennsylvania Avenue, close to the Capitol and directly across the street from the National Gallery of Art. its seven floors appear to be constructed mainly of titanium and glass and are designed to mimic portions of a newspaper. the place is also huge. i spent four hours there and probably saw only 70% of the collection.

The Food Section

Ethics Game

reporter’s notebook: in addition to several screening rooms and computer kiosks where visitors can leave comments, the Newseum is full of interactive exhibitions, including this game where two teams can play against each other to build a newspaper by answering ethics questions. i played handicap with the girls in the photo, me against the three of them, because i knew i could take these bitches.

Ethics Game

pwned! i won the game, building my newspaper in what i’m sure was a record time — all thanks to Bryce Nelson, the awesome ethics professor whose class i took when i was getting my masters. naturally, the girls were impressed with my genius and asked how i became so knowledgeable about journalistic ethics. high off my victory, i blurted out, “because i’m a journalist!” which was received with the requisite chorus of oooohs and ahhhs. then one of the bitches had to ruin it by asking me where i worked, to which i stammered, “oh, you know, the internet mostly. i write a blog, but, you know, i write for other publications, too. i’m not only a blogger. actually, it’s really hard to explain. i gotta go. bye!”

Awesome Shot

hall of fame: the Newseum has a collection of all the Pulitzer Prize-winning photos taken since 1942, when the prize was established. needless to report, i spent a lot of time here looking at the photos, all of which were remarkable. (and no, i did not tell strangers i was a photographer.)

Stepping on Lenin

Cornerstone of Democracy

i hope you can read this (click here if you can’t): thank you, Newseum, for a terrific day that reminded me of every reason i ever wanted to become a journalist. hopefully, i will be one again, one who records more than just the mundane aspects of her life on a blog. until then, i take my hat off to those who are doing the hard work, serving as the watchdogs of democracy and writing the first draft of history.

a bunch more Newseum photos are in the slideshow below — and include more prize-winning photographs, political comics, erroneous headlines, gift shop items and exhibitions i haven’t covered here — though if you’re really curious, i suggest visiting my Flickr page for this set to see bigger versions of the images. better yet, just go to D.C. to see this place for yourself.


Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I have a question for the webmaster/admin here at millatimes.blogspot.com.

May I use part of the information from this post above if I give a backlink back to this website?


Milla said...

sure. do your thing.

Anonymous said...

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Wade said...

The best exhibit I've seen on journalism anywhere is at the American and Chinese War Crimes Museum (or whatever they're calling it today) in Saigon. They have a small room filled with photos of journalists who died covering the Vietnam war. Because there was so much media coverage of the war, most of these photos date to within a few hours, if not a few minutes, of the journalists' deaths. Really makes you think about the value of knowledge and what people go through to get us that knowledge.

Anonymous said...

Loving the new design, great work. Will it always be this way?