ABOVE: At the Newseum in front of a real portion of the Berlin Wall!
This past weekend I visited the Newseum in downtown D.C. This is something that I have been looking forward to since I first found out that I was accepted into the D.C. program. My high school newspaper adviser and mentor Carolyn Wagner visited the Newseum when she took her students to a national student journalism conference last year, and has raved about it since her return!
Since then, I have been dying to go. Wagner had mentioned to me that spending only one afternoon or morning at the Newseum was not going to be enough, so I wanted to make sure that I went on a day with ample hours to really take my time.
ABOVE: Me in front of the real Tinker armbands! Wags knows how much this means to me!
Since it was Butler U’s fall break this past weekend, a lot of my roommates and friends had guests staying here. Two of my best friends are coming up in November, so I was one of the only people without guests. Since I have been attached at the hip with my roommates in all of my sightseeing so far, I thought it was extremely important that I go experience the Newseum by myself.
It was the thing that I was looking forward to most in D.C., so it just made sense to make an independent-woman-in-D.C-weekend out of it and really take full advantage of all my dear friends being occupied with their guests.
This was by far the best decision I could have ever made. I ended up going to the Newseum two days in a row and spending HOURS there. There are six floors (and a basement level) to the Newseum. To give you some insight as to how much time I was taking, by the close of the museum on Day 1 of my weekend, I only made it to the third floor… Yes, if any of my friends were there with me, they would have given up and left me anyways!
ABOVE: Me on the top floor of the Newseum! Amazing view of my favorite sight in the city!
The Newseum had several interesting, fun and even interactive exhibits, but one particular exhibit really stuck out to me. The Covering Katrina exhibit was out of this world.
Hurricane Katrina is one of the most interesting and heartbreaking natural disasters in our country’s history and certainly one of the deadliest (I think it’s #3) with more than 1,800 American deaths. Thousands more were displaced. Millions were affected. Yes, even all of us in Northern Illinois. Remember the gas prices that year? This exhibit was awesome because of the sheer magnitude of journalistic artifacts that they had from the wreckage as well as the in-depth look at the role that journalists played during this tragedy. Here is a clip that I saw in a video montage there that really stuck with me.
There were many more clips like this one, from journalists that I already admire, and to see them acting so courageously brought a few tears to my eyes. I really think that during this crisis, the journalists acted as true heroes and really shed the most light on the problems associated with the relief effort in the days following Katrina’s wake.
Also, there was a wall of the exhibit that had the front pages of newspapers that showed the timeline of the hurricane and its devastation. I was engrossed in reading the stories and seeing the unbelievable images, only partly paying attention to which newspaper was publishing which article. All of the sudden, I saw a word from another article on one of the pages I was reading pop out to me. The word: Kildeer.
My short little self immediately glanced up to the top of the broadsheet page, and low and behold, there was The Daily Herald’s masthead. Wow! It was such a cool experience that my hometown newspaper was one of the newspapers from the entire country that was chosen in this exhibit to show the emotional toll that this hurricane took on our country.
After finishing the Newseum on the second day, I went to the National Portrait Gallery. I’ve heard it’s one of the best Smithsonian exams. Going there by myself was slightly eerie because a lot of the museum was empty and it was a weird time to go. Honestly, it was so much fun. It was like I was discovering an entire museum by myself. I know that sounds laughable but it was like I was solving a mystery, exploring the museum on my own terms.
My favorite part of the entire museum was a special collection they had installed of Norman Rockwell paintings from the collections of both Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. This was my favorite one. It really spoke to me. The expression on the little girl just kills me. So cute. It’s like you just want to tell her to hold on and wait.
ABOVE: Little Girl Observing Lovers on the Train – Norman Rockwell – 1944
All in all, this weekend was a supreme success and my work week has flown by! It’s getting closer and closer to the election and I just can’t get enough of all the excitement and nervousness around this city– it’s addicting!