The Newseum dedicated to journalism received the most attention and publicity of the museums opened in the United States in 2008. It is located on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC, near the Capitol, White House and Smithsonian Institution museums. The first Newseum opened in 1997 in Rosslyn, Virginia, was founded by the Freedom Forum, a non-profit organization dedicated to free press, free speech and freedom of spirit. After 5 years, in spite of financial difficulties, the foundation's CEO Charles L. Overby decided to move the museum to a more prestigious location - the last available lot on Pennsylvania Ave. The Newseum's building was designed by Polshek Partnership Architects; the exhibitions - by Ralph Appelbaum Associates. On the front facade, the text of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution is prominently displayed to stress importance of freedom of press and speech. Luxury apartments and a three floor restaurant were built along with the Newseum to ensure a permanent source of income for the foundation. The whole complex took 6 years to build and cost 450 million dollars (financially supported by numerous US media companies). The museum's 7 floors contain 14 main galleries, 12 smaller expositions, 15 cinemas and 2 TV studios as well as 2 shops and food court. It houses over six thousands artifacts. A spacious atrium called the 'Great Hall of News' is home to a huge HD, TV screen that shows current news, films highlights, old newspaper headlines, museum advertisements and museum information. On the fifth level, 'The Story of News' gallery displays a timeline of hundreds of newspaper front pages. Within the timeline are touch-screens that offer interactive games, a database of journalists and close-up views of publications. The 'First Amendment' gallery explains the importance of the five fundamental freedoms: religion, speech, press, assembly and petition; the 'Pulitzers Prize Photography' gallery features a comprehensive collection of award winning photographs as well as interviews with many of the photographers; the 'World News' gallery features map and interactive displays illustrating differences in freedom of press around the world. 'Berlin Wall' and 'September 11' are two galleries dedicated to recent historical events. The Newseum also offers over 27 hours of various film materials. The Annenberg Theater has the largest capacity and presents 3D films with 'fourth-dimension' special effects. In spite of some critical reviews published by the press, the Newseum turned out to be really successful, creating an architectural landmark. Time can only show if it was worth the great expense.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.