Every year at the end of September, the Smithsonian magazine sponsors a “Museum Day Live!” across the country, with free admission to participating museums. We’ve enjoyed this day with varying degrees of success. For instance one year, we headed to the Baltimore Aquarium, only to get there and be told that it was too full to let anyone else in. That kind of turned us off from the free museum day for a few years, but then we decided to try again. Our next attempt was to the Crime and Punishment Museum in DC. That visit turned out much better. The museum, as expected, was busy, but at least we got in and were able to visit the museum for free.
This year I decided that we would try again; I had my sights set on the Newseum. The girls and I have visited it a few times already—in both its old location in Virginia and its new spot on Pennsylvania Ave in DC. Sterling had never been though, and it had been a couple of years since Natalie and I had been.
To get into one of the participating museums for free, you first have to register online and then print out your voucher before you go. Here’s the website: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/museumday/?no-ist. If you’re going to the Newseum on another day, here’s their website for prices: http://www.newseum.org/visit/tickets/.
Saturday for us is generally a day of sports games of some kind, so after Natalie’s soccer game we headed into town. We got very lucky and found a parking spot on the Mall in front of the Air and Space Museum for free. We were almost ready to drive further to look for paid parking, but it was just one of those lucky days for us.
There were no lines or waiting to get into the Newseum, even with it being free museum day. And although the museum was more crowded than usual, it didn’t hinder our visit at all.
The Newseum is set up in a way that takes the stress and uncertainty out of your visit. They first recommend a short (4-minute) orientation film on the bottom floor that provides a suggested path for your visit. Their directions are very easy to follow. They also have a guidebook with a page near the end titled “Special Interest”. This page has suggestions for exhibits to visit if you only have two-hours or if you are there with a family. We liked their suggestions, so we used them as we visited each floor.
Because Natalie is generally not as interested (Remember she’s 13!) as Sterling and I are to visit certain places, I’m always curious to hear what her favorite exhibits are. I also know that if she likes it, it has to grab her. So, could I have a drumroll, please?
Natalie’s favorite exhibits at the Newseum for 2014 are the following: the Smith Big Screen Theater where we watched “Stories of our Lives”, the Berlin Wall,
the 9/11 exhibit,
and the Interactive Newsroom.
Of course, Sterling and I enjoyed those exhibits as well as others. I hope you have a chance to visit the Newseum, and if you do in the future or you already have, please share some of your favorite exhibits that made your adventure memorable.