Posts Tagged ‘Newseum’

Two places to put on the Washington DC bucket list

Designed by David Adjaye and Philip Freelonb, the National Museum of African AmericanHistory and Culture is a stunning building at 14th Street and Madison Drive. Jacobs photo

Designed by David Adjaye and Philip Freelon, the National Museum of African American History and Culture is a stunning building at 14th Street and Madison Drive. Jacobs photo

A plane flown by Tuskeege Airmen hangs in a multi-storied hall at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Jacobs photo

A plane flown by Tuskeege Airmen hangs in a multi-storied hall at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Jacobs photo

 

Washington D.C..deserves to be on the summer bucket list even if you have been there before. It’s fun to visit longtime favorite places  such as the National Museum of American History,  which BTW still features First Ladies Dresses.

But if interested in the hit “Hamilton” show you will find a couple of outstanding new exhibits there with similar themes:  “American Democracy: A great leap of faith” and “Many Voices One Nation.” Both open June 28, 2017.

 

However, save time to visit two other very special places: the new National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Newseum.

 

Why go:

Similar to the phrase about visiting Alaska that as beautiful as you’ve heard it is, it’s even better, the National Museum of African American History and Culture surpasses expectations. Its architecture, interior layout and exhibits are extraordinary.

Bronze lattice-work wraps the building’s top, visible layers and huge walls, ramps and intimate galleries fill the museum’s structure below ground. For an idea of what the collections and exhibit contain download the museum’s mobile app.

The museum is conveniently located across 14th Street from the National Museum of American History.

 

At the Newseum, no matter what your politics are, you will find hands-on exhibits that show how attitudes have changed and headlines have called attention to momentous  events. And you are likely to leave with a better understanding of the phrase “freedom of the press.”

There is always a terrific new exhibit up on the Level 6. If in D.C. before the end of July, see “Louder than words: Rock Power and Politics.” Headlines, music and artifacts form the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Newseum show the role that rock and roll music and musicians played in movements around the world and in U.S. presidencies.

The Newseum is across from the National Gallery of Art and south of the Capitol.

One of the best images of the US Capitol is from the Newseum. One of its TV studios is often used when interviewing people and politicians in the news. Jacobs photo

One of the best images of the US Capitol is from the Newseum. One of its TV studios is often used when interviewing people and politicians in the news. Jacobs photo

 

 

What you need to know

The National African American musem, Madison Drive and 14th Street, is free but there has been such a crush to see it that entry is only by timed tickets. Advance entry tickets are available monthly but that means waiting to Jul5 5, 2017 when October tickets will be offered beginning at 9 a.m. Eastern Time. Day-of timed tickets go online starting at 6:30 a.m. ET every day until gone. Some walk-in entries are available at beginning at 1 p.m. ET weekdays only at the Madison Drive entrance.

 

Tickets to the Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. at 6th Street, are discounted by 15% if bought in advance (age 6 and under free) and are discounted 10% day of at the counter for military, college students and AAA members with ID cards.

The Newseum is featuring "1967 Civil Rights at 50." Jacobs Photo

The Newseum is featuring “1967 Civil Rights at 50.” Jacobs Photo

 

 

Tips to negotiating the two museums

 

NMAAHC

The National African American museum, often referred to as the NMAAHC, is basically divided in half with the bottom portion sinking down into the ground covering the history of blacks in America and the top half featuring black contributions in music, sports, theater and other areas.

Best plan is to take an elevator down and then another elevator all the way down to lowest C designation to begin with early history, then walk up the ramps through the build-outs of historic events, film clips, and important collection items back to the main floor. From there, take an elevator up to the top level (designated L with numbers).

The museum’s Sweet Home Café is excellent and offers a good break between the lower and upper sections. Plan to spend at least half a day at the museum.

 

Newseum

At the Newseum visitors often check out the exhibit labels next to a main floor elevator or on the map picked up at the entry counter. However, best plan is to take the escalator down to the concourse level and walk over to the glass express elevator. It goes non-stop to Level 6 which is a good place to see special exhibits, take a photo outside of the U.S. Capitol north of the Newseum on Constitution Avenue.

Back inside walk to the south end of Level 6 to see the current special exhibit. Then go down a level to the expansive theater area where relevant special exhibit film clips are shown.

Continue walking down or taking an elevator to the exhibits on each floor.  Among other attractions, there is a 9-11 section,  the FBI Today, “1967: Civil Rights at 50,” an interactive newsroom and a section on the Internet, TV and Radio.

A café is on the concourse level near the glass elevator. Plan to spend at least a couple of hours at the museum.

 

 

A Day in DC

Second in series on bucket-list towns where there is so much to see that that it is easy to miss some really good places. The series, begun with A Day in LA, highlights two attractions and includes a foodie stop plus an alternative attraction.

'A Capitol View' taken from the Newseum. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

‘A Capitol View’
taken from the Newseum. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

 

 

If you haven’t been to Washington DC your best introduction to the US capital is with the Hop On Hop Off Old Town Trolley. It will help you become acclimated to where things are. Plus, you can stop to take your selfies at DC landmarks.

But if you have visited DC before or are looking for something special to do after touring the usual places, go over to the Newseum where you can be a broadcaster and the International Spy Museum where you can be a spy.

Neither museum is part of the Smithsonian group so there are admission charges. Best plan is to get tickets in advance for discounts and easy entry.

 

The Newseum

Want a great view of the Capitol? Take the Newseum’s glass elevator. You’ll have to go down to go up. There are other elevators but the best way to experience this museum is to take the glass elevator which is an express from the Concourse Level up to Level 6 then walk down.

At Level 6 step outside to the terrace, look left and pull out the smart phone. The view is the same one used by some TV broadcasts from a studio a level down. Turn right to go back inside to see the current exhibit.

“Louder Than Words: Rock, Power and Politics” will be there on Level 6 beginning Jan. 13, 2017. Coming to the Newesum from Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, it has story boards and images but also John Lennon’s acoustic guitar from his 1969 “Bed-Ins for Peace” with Yoko Ono and the Fender Stratocaster used by Jimi Hendrix when he did “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Woodstock. In addition, there are handwritten lyrics to Bob Dylan’s “The Times They are a Changin’ and Bruce Springsteens, “Born in the USA.”

Opening Feb. 3, 2017  on Level 4 is ‘1967: Civil Rights at 50.” It reviews the militant mood changes during the struggle for racial justice.

But save time for permanent exhibits and highlights.  On Level 2 you can be a TV Reporter and do an interactive video. While at the museum, look for the exhibit on 911, FBI crime cases and the evolution of electronic media.

Become a spy and learn who was a spy at the International Spy Museum. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

Become a spy and learn who was a spy at the International Spy Museum. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

The Newseum is at 6th Street and Pennsylvania Ave. NW.

 

International Spy Museum

Now pull up the trench coat collar and don the sunglasses. The International Spy Museum is within walking distance a couple of blocks west and a few blocks north of Newseum.

Visitors age 12 and older can become a spy for an hour in the interactive ‘Operation Spy’ experience. It is a ticketed, timed experience limited to 15 people.

Go through the museum to find out who was a spy that you’d never guess would take on a mission. Find out about spy techniques and see some of the tools of the trade. If you’ve seen Bond movies you already know about some of them but there also is a separate Bond exhibit.

The International Spy Museum is at  800 F Street, NW  Washington, DC  20004

 

Where to eat

Break up the day with lunch at  Oyamel Cocina Mexicana, a  nice-sual restaurant with a sophisticated urban Mexican flair. Or stop at Hill Country Barbecue Market, a very casual, really good Texan BBQ place. Both restaurants   are about half-way between the two museums.

 

Alternative attraction and lunch spot

The National Gallery of Art is right across Pennsylvania Avenue from the Newseum. Contemporary and modern art is in the East Building which was just renovated. The West Building has art from all periods. Both buildings are worth visiting. Currently, modernist ‘Stuart Davis: In Full Swing’ is featured in the West Building until early March, 2017. Those in the know who want a quiet, contemplative spot make a reservation (four or more guests) to lunch in the Garden Cafe in the West Building near the 6th street entrance.

 

 

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Watch the presidential inauguration

The Newseum Terrace overlooks Pennsylvania Avenue

The Newseum Terrace overlooks Pennsylvania Avenue

Arguably the best place to watch the inaugural parade and zoom in on the ceremonies on Capitol building’s west side, is high up on the Pennsylvania Avenue Parade Route. So think Newseum.

However, the museum’s roof and terrace are already spoken for by more than 500 broadcasters from 21 countries who are already setting up temporary studios and production areas there.

Among the broadcasters anchoring Inauguration Day newscasts from the Newseum are MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow and ABC’s Diane Sawyer, George Stephanopoulos and Barbara Walters.

The Newseum, always a fun and interesting place to visit was designed to do multiple broadcasts.

Inauguration Day entry to the Newseum is already sold out but visitors can stop by the museum earlier in the weekend and put it on the museum list for next time in DC. Its terrace is among the best places to photograph the area.

A couple of alternatives to bucking the crowd in Washington is to catch the action on WGN which broadcasts across the US, your local TV station or the Newseum web site. The swearing-in ceremonies begin at 11:30 a.m. ET.

More inauguration information and suggested places to visit at Inauguration Weekend.

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