Since we arrived in D.C. I have been able to see many things and we have only been here for a short time! One of the most fun and interesting experiences of the trip so far was my visit to the Newseum a few days ago. After entering the building, we started out on the ground floor and watched the introduction video that explains how to best navigate the museum. We then walked around an exhibit about the Berlin Wall, and actually saw slabs of the wall that they had on display in the middle of the room. I enjoyed reading all of the signs and information posted nearby about the event and the pieces that were located in the museum. We then made our way to the top floor, which had display cases filled with the front pages of newspapers from all over the world. There were front pages from India, Nepal, Brazil, and many other countries, along with pages from major papers in each of the 50 states. My initial thoughts were about how that was someone’s job to replace the pages every day just so visitors to the museum could have an exciting and interesting experience. I have a lot of respect for the dedicated employees at this museum…or Newseum, I should say. Next we went down one flight and saw the exhibit dedicated to 9/11. This was a very powerful exhibit for me to see because there was so much emotion and meaning attached to the photographs and videos being played. The exhibit had the actual antenna from the North tower of the World Trade Center on display. It was shocking to see the mangled, twisted metal in person and it weighed heavily as I thought about the events that occurred on that day. Another emotional part of the exhibit was the video feed that was playing in a nearby room. The video was a compilation of interviews of journalists and news reporters who had been working on September 11, 2001. Each person shared their personal experience of that day, and what they had gone through to get the story. It was amazing to hear these people talk about the dedication that drove them to put themselves in danger in order to report the news. The video also showed alarming pictures and video clips of people coming out from the wreckage, and what the area looked like after the attack.
After this exhibit, we looked at various others throughout the museum. These included items from gangster arrests many years ago, clothing worn by reporters during significant interviews and events, and many other pieces. I enjoyed learning about smaller-scale stories that I had never heard about, and it was very interesting to see the physical things associated with the event right in front of me as I learned about what happened. One of the most fun parts of the visit was the opportunity to be a “real reporter” by doing our own report with a teleprompter and everything! After basically begging Samantha to do it with me, we ended up doing a report about how elves were working hard to prepare every gift in time for Christmas. We then watched ourselves on a TV monitor on the wall and had some good laughs.
Another interesting part of the Newseum was the Pulitzer Prize photographs section. This gallery had on display some of the most fascinating, heart-wrenching, and beautiful pictures I have ever seen. Some I had seen before, some I had only heard about, and some were completely new to me. But I spend quite a bit of time walking through this section looking at the pictures and reading some descriptions and was just amazed at what I saw and learned.
In my life I have not done a lot of journalism or photography, but especially after visiting this museum I have a new appreciation for both. Journalists must be some of the most dedicated and passionate people out there, and the drive many of these journalists had is fiercely strong. I loved the Newseum because of how well rounded and interactive it was. There was also a 4-D movie theater that played a film about key stories in journalism history, complete with moving chairs, surround sound effects and wind to complement certain scenes. The museum had exhibits to appeal to people of every walk of life, and visitors do not have to be journalism enthusiasts to see the passion and important history behind the stories portrayed there. Overall, this visit to the Newseum started off my time in D.C. very well, and I can’t wait to see what else is in store.