April 13, 2007

(Newseum)

Construction Update: First Amendment Wall Nears Completion

WASHINGTON — Installation of the Newseum’s defining architectural feature — the 74–foot–high marble First Amendment wall on the front façade of the Newseum — is nearing completion.

"Reaching this stage with the First Amendment wall is a signal that construction is winding down, and installation of the exhibit galleries is under way," said Max Page, vice president of facilities and construction.

Workers began installing the wall facing Pennsylvania Avenue in November. It consists of 264 sections with 12–inch letters and characters that spell out all 45 words of the First Amendment. The wall was carved last October by workers at Rugo Stone in Lorton, Va., from 50 tons of royal pink marble quarried in Tennessee.

A little work remains to put the finishing touches on the wall. A key task will be the on–site carving of the last piece of type, which will let visitors know what they’re reading: "First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution."

Inside the Newseum, work continues on exhibit fabrication and interior construction of the First Amendment gallery. The 1,700–square–foot gallery focuses on the five freedoms — religion, speech, press, assembly and petition — that make up the First Amendment. On March 27, Cox Enterprises announced that it had pledged $6 million to the Newseum in support of the gallery.

The Newseum, which is under construction at Pennsylvania Avenue and Sixth Street, N.W., will feature 14 main exhibition galleries in 70,000 square feet of exhibit space.

In addition to the First Amendment, the galleries will explore news history, electronic news, photojournalism, world news and how the media have covered major historical events.

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