‘Newseum’ Good Place to Visit When in Washington, D.C.

Spent a few days this past week in the Washington, D.C., area, and would you believe, it had nothing to do with sports. That is, unless you count 8-year-old granddaughter Lily’s basketball practice.

Of course, having not been in the area means that I wasn’t able to attend any local meetings, although I did receive a couple of e-mails and there were some items on my desk when I did get back.

As a result, if you continue to read this column, you may learn some things about the D.C. area.

Getting there and back wasn’t like being on a baseball trip when all you have to do is get yourself to Wheeling.

A trip from Pittsburgh isn’t any big deal, but I would say that most people traveling by air hope when they their boarding pass that it states that they get to through the TSA check. Our did both ways.

Day 2 took us to Chuck E. Cheese’s, a restaurant/kids’ entertainment establishment. Now, I had heard of Chuck E. Cheese’s, but this was the first time I had been to one.

Day 3 started out at Westminister Presbyterian Church in Alexander, Va., for early service. The sanctuary seats some 400, and it was full for that service. That same afternoon, we returned there for a children’s Christmas Pageant. There were 82 youngsters performing, and some 250 in the attendance, and yes, they had a meal available after the pageant.

The fourth day included a visit to the library and other attractions in the village of Shirlington, where our daughter and her family reside. Shirlington is an unincorporated urban area, officially called an “urban village,” which is located in the southern part of Arlington County, Va. It is billed as “Arlington’s Arts and Entertainment District.” Like most of Arlington County it has been experiencing an economic renaissance and as a result, it is home to many upscale dwellings and retail and service establishments that also serve four other nearby areas.

A couple of firsts took place on the fifth day, one being the initial ride on the Metro System. We caught a bus shuttle from Shirlington to a place called Pentagon City, where a large mall is located. After our shopping was concluded it was time to hop onto a Metro Rail, with our next stop being at the Pentagon, where a shuttle bus would take us back to Shirlington. This was the first time I had ever been to the Pentagon. We didn’t tour it, but I did learned where it is located. I actually thought it was in downtown Washington, near the Capitol.

A few things of interest about the Pentagon:

It is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, and is one of the world’s largest office buildings, with about 3,700,000 square feet. Approximately 23,000 military and civilian employees and about 3,000 non-defense support personnel work at the Pentagon.

It has five sides, five floors above ground, two basement levels and five big corridors per floor.

The big task took place the next day, as we had to catch the Metro Rail to downtown Washington, and of course, get back. After catching the shuttle to Pentagon City, we went to the Metro station looking for the yellow line, and once we boarded the subway, it was one stop and then on to a second stop which was our destination. Just a few steps away was Pennsylvania Avenue and another block away was the Newseum, a place we wanted to see again

We had been there 9 1/2 years ago while on a baseball trip, and during that time period things have changed.

If you have never been there before, it is worth your while to plan a visit.

The Newseum mission is to promote, explain and defend free expression and the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment: religion, speech, press, assembly and petition.

Since its opening at the new downtown Washington location in 2008, more than 7 million have visited its modern building located on historic Pennsylvania Avenue between the United States Capitol and the White House.

The Newseum’s seven levels of interactive exhibit include 15 galleries and 15 theaters Among the most memorable exhibits are the 9/11 Gallery, which features the broadcast antenna from the top of the World Trade Center; the Berlin Wall Gallery, and the Pulitzer Photographs Gallery, which features photographs from Pulitzer Prise winning entry dating back to 1942. Considered one of the most interactive museums in the world, the Newseum experience also traces the evolution of electronic communication from the birth of radio to the technologies of the present and the future.

The front of the Newseum features the 45 words of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution etched into a 75-foot tall tablet of Tennessee pink marble which faces Pennsylvania Avenue.

The Newseum is described as a place where five centuries of news history meets up to the technology on America’s Main Street.

I enjoyed looking at newspaper headlines of great importance in history, especially those of the past century.

In one room there are some of the equipment used by newspaper people, one being a United Press International printer, which “brought” the stories to the newspapers worldwide, along with antique typewriters and the old camera.

A number of quotes displayed included:

“What is the Fourth Estate? Historically in Europe, three ‘estates’ gave counsel and aid to rulers: the clergy, the nobility and the commoners. In 1841, historian Thomas Caryle attributed the phrase ‘Fourth Estate’ to British politician Edmund Burke. Burke said there were Three Estates in Gallery yonder, there and a Fourth Estate far more important than they are. In a more modern interpretation the press is a fourth power that acts as a watchdog over the executive, legislative and judicial powers of government.”

“Eyes and Ears of a Profession: Early newspapers didn’t employ reporters as we know that term today. The editor seldom left the office in search of news, but waited for it to come to him via the mail or other newspapers. Early on, the term reporter may have been used in reference to those who used shorthand to record events as they happened.”

“Speed has always been a primary concern in the gathering and telling of news. The substance of news has changed little over time. What has changed has been the speed at which news travels. Early telephones required an operator’s assistance. Rotary dial and touch-tone telephones allowed direct and ever faster connections. Modern cell phones gave reporters greater mobility. News travels as rapidly as technology allows.”

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Now, getting back to some of the local events:

Mound Post No. 437 Ladies Auxiliary will be holding its annual Christmas Party at 6:30 p.m., Monday at the Post Home. Members are to bring a covered dish and a gift for the exchange. New Auxiliary members and Lifetime members are issued a special invitation to attend.

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From the weekly Marshall County Chamber of Commerce newsletter comes word that the annual Tree Gala was very successful, and that the Marshall County Childhood Cancer group had been awarded $5,620 from the auction, and an additional $332 for having the favorite tree.

Also, a check in the amount of $533 has been presented to the John Marshall High School’s “Paws for a Cause” club from the Raffle Tree.

Chamber Executive Director Scott Reager expressed thanks to Chamber Tree Gala committee members, co-chairs Barb Rush and Elizabeth Pernell, and members Beth Bertram, Susan Inclan, Brittany Birch, Rosalyn Rhodes, Karen Baker, Karen Ealy, Daunel Gump, Chamber staff members Patty Morris and Tammy Harris, along with volunteers, tree buyers, hosts, those making donations and decorators.

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The combined churches of McMechen will present a Cantata titled, “The First Noel,” at 6 p.m., today at the First Christian Church, 30 Fourth St. Everyone is welcome.

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You have six more days to make monetary donations to the Salvation Army. The Moundsville Service Center will have bell ringers in Moundsville and New Martinsville every day this week through Saturday.

Money collected is not only used to aid families at Christmas time, but throughout the year.

Anyone having an Angel Tree name is asked to return it and their gift by Tuesday.

Volunteer bell ringers are still needed for this week. Persons willing to assist can phone the Service Center at 304-845-0510.

The distribution of food, etc., will take place at the Thrift Center in Steelton for Wetzel County residents from 10 a.m. until noon on Thursday, while the distributions to Tyler County residents will be from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m., on Thursday at the Sistersville Volunteer Fire Department.

Marshall County residents will be receiving distributions starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday at the Salvation Army Center in Moundsville.

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