Do you know of a cultural institution with a worse name than that of the Newseum, the 250,000-square-foot “museum of news” set to open Friday in Our Nation’s Capital? (If so, drop us a line at unbeige AT mediabistro.com, we’ve launched a formal study.) The Newseum, which utterly mocks your inability to correctly pronounce its name on the first try, is housed on the first seven floors of a building designed by Polshek Partnership Architects that is also home to a sprawling Wolfgang Puck restaurant (newsily named “The Source”), a conference center, and 140,000 square feet of residential apartments that are probably out of most journalists’ price range.
The museum itself features exhibits designed by Ralph Appelbaum Associates. Among them is “The New York Times-Ochs-Sulzberger Family Great Hall of News,” which bombards visitors with “instant, breaking, historic news that is uncensored, diverse, and free” and is accented by a looming satellite replica and a Bell helicopter. Also not advised for the already information-frazzled among us is the NBC Interactive New Room, which challenges visitors to “prepare a complete, timely, and accurate report” in the face of breaking news and an imminent deadline. More our speed is the Pulliam Family Great Books Gallery, in which we can admire the layout of the Magna Carta or calmly peruse The Federalist Papers on an interactive kiosk. Our colleagues at FishbowlDC have the full scoop, as they had the run of the place yesterday at the Newseum’s Media Day, where journalists scanned the exhibits for pictures of themselves (and FishbowlDC succeeded in finding some).