The Newseum: Educational for children — of all ages

by Jill Berry on October 1, 2010

Newseum

Newseum

I’m not a weepy person. Yet my steeliness was thrown out the window as I watched the 9/11 film played at the Newseum. The short movie chronicles what happened on that fateful day, as reporters, photographers, firefighters, and bystanders reported on what they were experiencing. The documentary was poignant, heartbreaking, and powerful to watch. I teared up as I remembered how the world changed on 9/11 for my children and the world, and the Newseum is all about capturing and documenting such historic events through the lens of the media.

The Newseum, a modern structure located in the heart of Washington, D.C., is a 250,000-square-foot museum of news, blending together five centuries of news history by using high tech and hands-on exhibits. It’s a stone’s throw from the U.S. Capitol, the National Museum of Natural History, the National Gallery of Art, and the Verizon Center.

If you are on a tight schedule, like I was, I would suggest you start with Level 6 – The Pennsylvania Avenue Terrace. The top level of the Newseum offers a spectacular view of the U.S. Capitol to your left and the museums on the National Mall to your right.

As we left the Pennsylvania Avenue Terrace, we moved in to the display of Today’s Front Pages on the top level of the Newseum. Newspapers from almost all 50 states and a large number of countries are changed each day. My teen who takes French was intrigued by the French language newspapers. The tween wanted to read a few Spanish languages papers. My son and his dad loved any and all newspapers with stories about football and sports.

The Newseum has all different exhibits, everything from the 9/11 Gallery to an Elvis exhibit, the latter of which shows how the rock n’ roll star was portrayed in the media. A movie shows how Elvis was depicted in news clips, newspaper headlines, and TV shows, including his hip-shaking appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Our children loved the NBC News Interactive Newsroom on the second level. The exhibit area features about 30 monitors in booths, and my son  played a game where he had to be the reporter for a whodunnit on “Who let the animals out at the zoo?” Was it the clown? The ringmaster? Or the animal trainer? He also tried his hand at being a reporter, standing  in front of a green screen to read the weather report.

If you’re visiting with kids, they’ll also love the movie shown at the museum, including I-Witness: A 4-D Time Travel Adventure. The special effects included shaking seats and gunfire. 

Newseum is located at 555 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, at 6th Street NW. To get there via Metro:

  • Take the Green or Yellow Line to the Archives/Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter Metro Station.
  • Take the Red Line to the Judiciary Square Metro Station.
  • Take the Blue or Orange Line to the Smithsonian Metro Station.

Where should you stay while in DC? A few hotels near Capitol Hill:

–Jill Berry of Musings from Me

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