The Newseum is an incredibly though-provoking place tracing the importance of a free press while simultaneously showcasing the major stories of the last centuries.
We came away with a deeper and more horrified appreciation of the civil rights movement in the USA as well as a clearer understanding of the damage being done by the current ‘fake news’ screams.
Simultaneously, it was inspiring to see artefacts of major news stories: From the TV antenna that once topped the World Trade Centre and is now a pile of mangled metal, to the Unabomber’s hut, to the ladder used in the Lindbergh kidnapping.
Wanting to continue seeing the real things behind the news we set off for the National Archives in the afternoon.
On the way we came upon a movie being made. We stood and watched for a while amongst a crowd of what we thought were equally interested by-standers, until someone came along and asked us to move on as all the people around us were extras in the film being paid to look like interested by-standers.
There was one interesting thing we reflected on afterwards. As we’ve walked the streets of Washington the bulk of local people walking around us have been black, yet there was not a single black face to be seen amongst the extras on the film set. The civil rights movement achieved so much, but there remains something deeply wrong at the heart of the way the USA works in regards to race.
The National Archives houses the originals of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Sadly they were displayed for too many years in bright sunlight and they are faded to the point that it’s almost impossible to make anything out on the Declaration. We really appreciated seeing them anyway; they are lovely old documents with a fascinating story around them.
Finally, we popped down the road to the National Natural History Museum, but after only a short while we agreed we just couldn’t take and more strolling around and headed back home to take advantage of our last evening in an apartment with some relaxation and another home-cooked meal.