History comes alive for students at Newseum

04/01/2012  | 
Museum Destination

Let history come alive for your students at the Newseum in downtown Washington, D.C., where seven floors of theaters and exhibits invite students to experience the biggest news stories of all time in a high-tech, hands-on way.

Adrian Hall, a high school teacher from England, called the Newseum the highlight of an eight-day East Coast trip: “Student feedback after our return is nearly unanimous in describing it as the best museum we visited (and we visited lots!!).”

The Newseum features thousands of artifacts from major news events and newsmakers alike. See the largest collection of the Berlin Wall outside of Europe, get behind the camera with more than 70 photojournalists in the Newseum’s Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery, or explore the News History Gallery where an extensive collection of historic newspapers, magazines and interactive games chronicle more than 500 years of headline history.

Take a time-travel adventure in the Newseum’s 4-D movie, “I –Witness,” which tells the story of three famous journalists in pursuit of the truth. Join Edward R. Murrow on a London rooftop as he delivers a live radio report during World War II or going undercover with Nellie Bly as she exposes horrendous conditions in a 19th century insane asylum. Some of the most dramatic events in news history are recreated as a 3-D film and fourth-dimension special effects take students on a journalistic trip through time.

Looking for hands-on fun? Visit the Interactive Newsroom, where touch-screen stations provide the reporting tools and techniques needed to see what it takes to be a photojournalist or newspaper reporter on deadline. Eight “Be a TV Reporter” stations give students the chance to pick up a microphone, step before a camera and experience what it’s like to anchor the evening news. Or test your students’ knowledge of current events at the fast-paced NewsMania interactive game.

The Newseum’s sixth-floor terrace overlooks Pennsylvania Avenue and provides a spectacular view of America’s Main Street. The view encompasses landmarks and monuments of American history, including the U.S. Capitol, the National Gallery of Art, the National Archives and the Washington Monument.

Now on display through January 2013, “Every Four Years: Presidential Campaigns and the Press,” invites students to explore how media coverage of presidential campaigns has evolved from William McKinley’s 1896 front porch campaign to Barack Obama’s 2008 Internet campaign. The exhibit features interactive activities and an original video on televised campaign ads, shown on a 100-foot-wide video screen in the Robert H. and Clarice Smith Big Screen Theater.

In April 2012, the Newseum will open its first permanent gallery since the museum’s launch in 2008. The “HP New Media Gallery,” will take advantage of the latest interactive technologies to examine how new media is changing the way that people send and receive information, as news and images flow instantaneously around the world through social networks, smartphones and tablets. Visiting students will have the opportunity to create their own homepages using live content from online news sites, social networks and blogs. A dazzling array of interactive touch-screens and tablets will let kids become a part of the global news conversation and share their opinions around the world.

For teachers and group leaders interested in a more in-depth museum experience, the Newseum’s Education Department offers a variety of free, hands-on classes for school groups — all available with downloadable pre- and post-lesson plans. Educators can select various learning experiences and pick the lessons that suit their students’ needs and interests. Learning Center classes meet national standards of learning and are taught by educators with experience in history and journalism.

To book a field trip, or to learn more about the Newseum’s educational programs, visit www.newseum.org/education or call 202-292-6650.
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