Dec 27, 2019

Why the Newseum is closing forever on Dec. 31

Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

The Newseum hailed the free press, but got beaten by the free museums in Washington, D.C., reports the AP.

Flashback: The Newseum — a private museum that was originally funded with Gannett riches and dedicated to exploring modern history as told through the eyes of journalists — opened 11 years ago on prime real estate on Pennsylvania Avenue.

  • The glass-walled building, almost equidistant between the White House and the Capitol, became instantly recognizable for its multi-story exterior rendition of the First Amendment.

After nearly 10 million visitors but years of financial difficulties, the Newseum will close its doors on Tuesday, New Year's Eve:

  • The building was sold for $372.5 million to Johns Hopkins University, which will consolidate its scattered Washington-based graduate studies programs under one roof.
  • A Newseum ticket costs $25 for adults, and the building is right across the street from the National Gallery of Art, and within blocks of multiple free Smithsonian museums.
  • Exhibits during the Newseum's final days included an exploration of the cultural and political influence of Jon Stewart and "The Daily Show," a look at the history of the struggle for LGBTQ rights and a display depicting the history of presidential dogs.

The Newseum's homepage says, "We're on deadline":

  • "In early 2020, ... deinstallation of its exhibits will begin and artifacts will be moved to a state-of-the-art support center where they will be housed and maintained. The collection will continue to circulate for outgoing loans, educational programs, public events, digital initiatives and more."
  • "[T]he Newseum's popular Today’s Front Pages, which digitally displays nearly 1,000 newspaper’s front pages each day from around the world, will continue after the Dec.31 closing."

Go deeper: The Newseum loses its home

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