The Newseum was the first interactive museum devoted to the “who, what, when, where, and how” of journalism. Located halfway between the White House and the U.S. Capitol, the building made a powerful statement by having the 45 words of the First Amendment etched into a 75-foot tall tablet of Tennessee marble facing Pennsylvania Avenue.
RAA was asked to create a highly informational experience that drew on the Newseum’s collection of more than 40,000 print news items, 200,000-plus photographic prints and negatives, and more than 22,000 objects related to news gathering and First Amendment freedoms. Visitors experienced the story of news, the role of a free press in major events in history, and how the core freedoms of the First Amendment—religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition—apply to their lives.
Visitor circulation and narrative flow aimed to take full advantage of the views of the galleries, of people moving about within the building, and of the city beyond. The museum included 27 hours of video-based content, 130 interactive stations, and 15 high-definition theaters in 14 galleries over 7 floors.
Other features were two fully operational television broadcast studios with editing suites and control rooms, a 535-seat theater, a rooftop conference center, a food court, a signature fine-dining restaurant, two gift shops, and administrative offices. The exhibition’s infrastructure supported immediate updating of content in each gallery on a daily basis.
The Newseum was, for 11 years, one of Washington’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting over 11 million visitors during that time.
Size Public Facility: 250,000 square feet; Exhibitions: 70,000 square feet; Total project: 643,000 square feet
Architect Ennead Architects (Formerly Polshek Partnership Architects)