Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Keep It Local: Newseum

A few months ago, when we had some family in town, mom woke up to a Living Social deal to the Newseum and jumped on it -- it's been on her list, but admission is SO expensive (for D.C.). She was careful enough to read the fine print that only one deal could be used at a time, but somehow overlooked the detail that LS deals cannot be used until 48 hours after purchase. It was only once we arrived at the Newseum later that day that she realized it. Deal fail. Oh well.

We forged ahead and $80 later (it's $20/adult, kids under 7 are free) went in to see what was what. The information desk was pretty helpful identifying things that would be kid-friendly (see this Family Guide) and even gave us a scavenger hunt for kids. We started out at the Berlin Wall Gallery and while we plotted our scavenger hunt strategy, mom and dad tried to explain to us the basic history behind the Wall. With very limited success. We moved on to "Every Four Years: Presidential Campaigns and the Press," where we liked picking out President Obama, but were otherwise not interested. It was when we hit the "G-Men and Journalists" exhibit next that mom really started to question her decision to come to the museum.

Sure, we've been to plenty of museums where the content is sort of over our heads, but we still have fun and mom and dad get to enjoy it, too. But a lot of what the adults were interested in seeing at the Newseum was not only over our heads (in terms of our ability to fully understand it), but it was graphic and disturbing, and we were able to pick up that that was the case (even if we didn't really comprehend why). For example, the G-Men exhibit has the Unibomber's cabin, the actual cabin, on display. We thought it was a cool cabin, but could tell by the sort of somber attitude of the other museum-goers, that it wasn't. By the time we made it close to the 9-11 exhibit, mom kept us away almost completely (we played on some nearby computers).

We tried to hit up the other suggested kid-friendly sights, including the First Dogs exhibit, but probably the biggest hit with us was the Hank Greenspan Terrace on Pennsylvania Avenue -- it was a beautiful day and what we really needed was some fresh air. So, bottom line, at least for us, was that we were just too young to visit the Newseum. It likely depends on your child's maturity and your comfort level in educating/discussing with them some pretty complicated (and upsetting) issues, but mom thought it would be several years until we try this one again.

you don't have to tell us twice


"hey, we know them!"

broadcast antennae from World Trade Center's North Tower

like that was ever a problem

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