‘The Newseum Will Continue,’ but Where?

By Chris Ariens 

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The Newseum, the Washington, D.C., museum dedicated to the First Amendment and the news media, is at a crossroads.

The Washington Post reports executives of the museum will meet today with real estate investment bankers about the future of its gleaming glass and steel home on Pennsylvania Ave.

The Newseum moved into the space 10 years ago, and has struggled since. It was home, for a time, to ABC’s This Week and houses news memorabilia including Andy Rooney‘s desk and typewriter. It also includes the Journalists Memorial, a wall (below) honoring those who have died in the service of newsgathering.

The Newseum earned $18 million in rental and catering revenue and only $7.8 million in admissions in 2016. Other revenue came from a parking garage and food court. The museum attracts about 800,000 visitors annually. [Scott] Williams, the chief operating officer, disclosed Wednesday that it recorded an uptick in admissions in 2017 when 855,000 people visited—its best attendance figures since its debut year.

The Freedom Forum, established by USA Today founder Al Neuharth, is the primary benefactor of the museum. It has poured $272 million into it so far.

The Newseum’s atrium doubles as an event space and has hosted the 60th and 70th anniversary celebrations of TV’s longest running program, NBC’s Meet the Press.

“The Newseum is one of the tools the Freedom Forum uses to champion the First Amendment and the freedom of the press,” Williams told the Post. “They have no intention of it going away. The Newseum will continue.”