It's not your daddy's museum - Newseum celebrates 'history's first draft'

Friday, May 2, 2008
Educators Karen ConKleck, left, and Elaine Voketaitis stand by a broadcast station antenna that fell from the top of one of the World Trade Center towers on 9/11. The antenna is located in the newly opened Newseum in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON -- Visiting our nation's capitol city has been a time-honored school trip or summer vacation destination and now there's a new place to go -- the Newseum, a building dedicated to the history of gathering the news.

While news history may seem like a contradiction in terms, the $450 million building -- within a couple of blocks from the subway stop named for the National Archives, is a showplace for the institutions exemplified by what you're holding in your hands as you read this and their empowerment by the First Amendment.

From a Revolutionary War scene in a four dimensional movie showing a musket ball shot to your face, to the broadcast antenna salvaged from one of the World Trade Towers, this is no ordinary museum, according to elementary school students who said the 4-D movie was like something at Disney World.

It's a visceral experience. Chairs move, and during one scene about Nellie Bly, the first female "detective reporter," there's a light spritzing of the audience to add another dimension to the program, said Mandy Paine, 8, of Virginia.

Her elementary school classmate, Alexandra Voketaitis, 8, liked glistening bubbles that seemed to float between the audience and the movie screen. Important dates in history are shown on the bubbles, used as transitions from one story to another.

See Friday's Tribune for the complete story.