How is the Newseum moving? Let us count the ways:
- The Newseum moved from its Arlington, VA location to its current location on Pennsylvania Avenue in DC.
- It’s a big museum, so a visit means moving around a lot!
- To help you move around, there are glass hydraulic “people mover” elevators.
- There are movies and movie theaters everywhere, including a “4D” movie in which your seat moves.
- And of course, the content is moving.
Perhaps the most moving part of the Newseum is the 9/11 Gallery, where visitors can see artifacts from all three attack sites, including a massive, mangled news antenna from the top of the World Trade Center. There are also displays of front pages reporting on 9/11, kiosks where visitors can leave comments, and a section of the exhibit devoted to journalist Bill Biggart, who died while taking photos of the events as they unfolded.
But the biggest tearjerker in the 9/11 exhibit seems to be Running Toward Danger, the short film about journalists covering the tragedy. When I watched it for the first time as part of my training, I got out of the theater as soon as I’d seen the whole thing, thinking I couldn’t handle any extra seconds of the looping movie. Days later, when I was posted in the 9/11 Gallery, I found that I did not necessarily need to actively tell some of the rowdier adolescent visitors to please calm down in the gallery – the content did my job for me. The school groups often rush into the theater talking, laughing, poking each other, moving too fast; when they emerge several minutes later, they are subdued, solemn, almost in tears.
So far, I’ve seen visitors generally experience the 9/11 Gallery in quiet contemplation. I enjoy the Berlin Wall Gallery more, where I have a chance to hear the conversations that adults have with their children/students. After one father explained the history of the Berlin Wall to his school-age kids, his daughter asked, “Which side was happy?”
Other moving exhibits include the Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery (where the majority of the prize-winning pictures are also profoundly depressing pictures), the Journalists Memorial, and the more uplifting First Amendment Gallery.