July 24, 2007

Construction Update: It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like a Newseum

An early look at the Be a TV Reporter experience. (Jessica Hall)
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An early look at the Be a TV Reporter experience. (Jessica Hall)

Timeline graphics in Internet, TV and Radio. (Jessica Hall)
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Timeline graphics in Internet, TV and Radio. (Jessica Hall)

A view of the U.S. Capitol through terrace scaffolding. (Maria Bryk)
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A view of the U.S. Capitol through terrace scaffolding. (Maria Bryk)

From the Master Control center, technicians will monitor programs and incoming news feeds.
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From the Master Control center, technicians will monitor programs and incoming news feeds.

This switcher will control programs in the Pennsylvania Avenue Studio. (Jessica Hall)
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This switcher will control programs in the Pennsylvania Avenue Studio. (Jessica Hall)

On a recent tour of the Newseum construction site, visitors rounded a corner and got some shocking news: “Dead Expected to Rise.”

The world doesn’t really need to prepare for a massive zombie attack; the headline is one of many (unintentionally) funny newspaper bloopers that visitors will see when the Newseum opens on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington.

The bloopers display is one of several areas where workers are making rapid progress, said Max Page, vice president/facilities and construction.

“It’s starting to look a lot less like a construction site, and a lot more like a museum,” he said.

Major construction is complete and exhibit installation has begun in the News History gallery; Interactive Newsroom; Internet, TV and Radio gallery; Ethics Center; and the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Theater, Page said.

A three-story-tall guard tower that once stood over Germany’s concrete divider already has been installed in the otherwise vacant Berlin Wall gallery. “The tower is so large, we had to bring it in first and build the gallery around it,” Page said. Once completed, the gallery will showcase eight 12-foot-tall sections of the original wall.

In the News History gallery, finished exhibit cases have been carefully sheltered to protect them from surrounding construction activity. The display cases were crafted by Goppion, an Italian manufacturing company whose client roster includes the Louvre, Tower of London and Newseum neighbor National Gallery of Art.

The Internet, TV and Radio gallery’s news timeline is taking shape. It now includes 30-inch wide, 60-inch tall photos such as O.J. Simpson’s mug shot, the burning World Trade Center on Sept. 11 and Saddam Hussein’s statue falling in Baghdad. In this gallery and other spaces where construction is complete, the temperature and humidity can now be controlled to protect the installations.

“During the coming months, installation will continue one area at a time as construction work wraps up,” said Page. “Then the finishing touches go in from top to bottom, until flooring is laid and we are ready to go.”

The Newseum’s public space will include 70,000 square feet of exhibit space through 14 galleries and 15 theaters. The building also will feature The Source by Wolfgang Puck, a fine-dining restaurant, and the Newseum Residences, 135 rental apartments. The first resident moved in last month, Page said, and more are expected to make the Newseum their home by Aug. 1.

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