One of my goals in 2015 was to visit 12 museums, and to share details about those visits with you. Museums are great places to hide, to socialize, to think, to listen to audiobooks or music and to wander. They are also places to collect inspiration, to ponder, to absorb, to grow and to learn. Hopefully one of my visits will inspire one of yours.
Museum Visit 4/12: The Newseum
Date of Visit: 20 MARCH 2015
We had 36 hours in Washington, DC and wanted to make the most of it. The day we arrived, it was one of those overcast, intermittently rainy and chilly spring days—so we decided a museum would be an excellent choice for the rest of our afternoon.
We decided on the Newseum out of all the museums in DC, and there are a lot. Here's a list of museums in DC for those of you who might be planning a trip there.
We chose the Newseum for a few reasons:
1. When I was a teenager, I thought I was going to be a page layout designer for newspapers. I ended up with a degree in Magazine Journalism after college and to this day, my company leans heavily on research and studies from the world of newspapers. Journalism is important and seeing a museum curated through the eyes of journalists was important to me.
2. They had an exhibit on the assassination and funeral of Abraham Lincoln. I'm preparing for my Thanatology exam and I wanted to see this exhibit as it covered parts of the infamous funeral train and all the related happenings surrounding his death.
3. They have some really cool exhibits. The top floor is just the front pages from newspapers in every state of the United States and a lot of countries from around the world.
THREE THINGS THAT REALLY STRUCK ME:
1. The Berlin Wall and East German Guard Tower When the Berlin wall came down in 1989 I was in preschool. By the time of the German reunification, I was in first grade. I remember this being something I heard about, but wasn't old enough to have any understanding of at all. As an adult, for me to see the largest section of the Berlin wall on public display in the US, and an entire East German Tower was an impactful experience. In my museum visits this year, I've not just learned about things....I've had an experience with them. You might understand the concept of a concrete wall and towers that had people inside that could shoot at you....but you don't 'get' it until you are looking at the wall and seeing the huge, looming, concrete tower. I went to the museum with my husband Victor and I will never forget standing inside the base of the East German Tower and staring up into it. It wasn't something we saw, it was something we felt.
2. The Pulitzer Prize Photograph Gallery . This was the first time in a museum where I really cried. I've felt intense emotions before, but not like this. Weeks later as I write this, I am getting a knot in my throat. I have never seen moments of humanity expressed in this way. It was particularly poignant for me as I prepare for my Thanatology exam. Grief, loss, pain, hurt....these are aspects of humanity. To see the extremes of these left an imprint on my heart.
I've had to come back to try to write this paragraph several times over the past couple of weeks. I get upset thinking about this exhibit. Many of these photos are hard to look at and they obviously have stuck with me. I suppose this is because we all can see ourselves in these photos...we are all humans. We all are made of the same fabric, and to be confronted with a wall of truths about that fabric we are all woven into—the very good, the very bad—is humbling, uplifting, sad and scary.
Tough to experience, but it is something I wish more people could see. It will make you think twice about getting ticked off about our 'first world problems.' Thank you to the Newseum for impacting my life through this exhibit.
3. The Unabomber's Cabin, The First Dogs Exhibit, The 9/11 Exhibit, The Boomer Exhibit. Can't pick just three! I'll summarize:
- They had the entire Unabomber's cabin on display. It was on display right across from the 9/11 exhibit.
- There was a long walkway showing Presidential pets....this was just lighthearted, sweet and fun.
- The most impactful parts of the 9/11 exhibit was seeing the antenna formerly on the very top of one of the towers hung from the ceiling in its mangled mess, and the box of cell phones. The caption that accompanied those cell phones has stuck with Victor and I....for days after the collapse, cell phones could be heard ringing in the rubble. People were trying to call their loved ones to see if they were alive.
- I teach a lot on Generational Dynamics and Generational Marketing. I personally loved seeing an exhibit on our Baby Boomers. Coolest part? You could 'smell' Boomer smells that defined their era. One was baby powder.
1. This is a wonderful museum. You can truly tailor your entire visit to your tastes. We spent 3 hours on our visit and did not get to see everything, but we were able to see everything that we wanted to.
2. There's food and drink inside, and a large gift shop.
3. The museum is beautiful inside: the layout, the way you move through the exhibits, the way finding, the look and the feel.
Address: 555 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001
Phone: (202) 292-6100