- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Even if your are the most avid reader, you probably don’t have 800 newspapers delivered to your door each morning.

The Newseum showcases a selection of more than 800 front pages from newspapers across the country and around the world each day.

“At about 5 or 6 a.m. every morning, staff come in to review the front pages and change out the ones on exhibit,” said Jonathan Thompson, the Newseum’s senior manager of media relations. “All 800 or so are uploaded daily to our website and mobile app.”

The goal of the 250,000-square-foot, gleaming glass museum on Pennsylvania Avenue NW “is to educate visitors on the First Amendment and the freedoms it gives us,” Mr. Thompson said.

Even passers-by can’t miss the message: The amendment’s 45 words are engraved onto a massive 74-foot-long marble wall at the front of the building.

Part of the tower (left) that previously broadcast radio and television signals from the World Trade Center is displayed as part of an exhibit about coverage of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, at the Newseum. The The goal of the Newseum (top) is to educate visitors on the First Amendment. Visitors (above) crowd outside the building to read a display of newspaper front pages. The Newseum showcases a selection of more than 800 front pages from newspapers across the country and around the world. (Associated Press Photographs)
Part of the tower (left) that previously broadcast radio and television signals ... more >

Inside the Newseum, headlines stream across a modern architecture that rises six stories high, news is projected onto an enormous screen that fills most of the lobby’s back wall, and a Bell 206B JetRanger III news helicopter hangs from the ceiling.

The museum’s tour route first directs guests to the concourse level, which includes a wing dedicated to the Berlin Wall — where eight panels of the wall, the largest number together on display outside Germany, sit in the middle of the room.

“The West side is covered in vibrant graffiti and beautiful artwork, where the East side is white washed, completely blank,” Mr. Thompson said. “It gives a greater view, especially for students, of what it means to have freedom of the press and freedom of expression.”

Venturing on, visitors pass a history of newspaper comics characters, a sizable cafeteria supplied by Wolfgang Puck Catering, and a “Pictures of the Year” gallery.

The last concourse level exhibit illustrates the relationship between the media and the FBI: International News Service reporter James F. Donovan first came up with the idea for FBI’s Most Wanted List in a front-page story. The exhibit includes John Dillinger’s death mask, the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski’s wooden cabin, and dust covered cellphones found in the rubble of the World Trade Center.

Featured on the fifth level are copies of the Magna Carta, “The Federalist Papers,” Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense,” and Frederick Douglass’ autobiography.

The museum’s largest gallery, the News History Gallery houses more than 300 historic front pages, including headlines such as “Kennedy Slain on Dallas Street,” “Diana’s Dead,” and the Chicago Daily Tribune’s infamous “Dewey Defeats Truman.”

Display cases line the walls, one of which shows how reporting has changed with technological developments. Antique radios and televisions sit beside Bill Gate’s keyboard. Likewise, a case explains how reporting in the courtroom has changed and displays the $2,000 Italian suit O.J. Simpson wore the day he was acquitted of murdering his ex-wife and her friend in 1994.

A more light-hearted exhibit awaits on Level 2, dedicated to the 2004 Will Ferrell comedy “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.” It includes footage from the film and more than 60 of the news team’s outfits and props.

Visitors can appear as an anchorman — or anchorwoman — in the interactive “Be a TV Reporter” display. Participants can choose a background and topic to report on, look into the camera and read the teleprompter. Performances are played back a couple minutes later on one of the many TV screens and appear on the Newseum’s YouTube channel.

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