February 9, 2010

The News Goes on at the Newseum

The Newseum's visitor and operations staff brave the elements. (Donna J. Baker/Newseum)
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The Newseum's visitor and operations staff brave the elements. (Donna J. Baker/Newseum)

The view from the Pennsylvania Avenue terrace. On a clear day, you can see the U.S. Capitol. (Donna J. Baker/Newseum)
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The view from the Pennsylvania Avenue terrace. On a clear day, you can see the U.S. Capitol. (Donna J. Baker/Newseum)

A view of Pennsylvania Avenue from the staircase inside the Newseum. (Donna J. Baker/Newseum)
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A view of Pennsylvania Avenue from the staircase inside the Newseum. (Donna J. Baker/Newseum)

The Newseum is open. (Donna J. Baker/Newseum)
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The Newseum is open. (Donna J. Baker/Newseum)

The Newseum was open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. throughout the storm. (Donna J. Baker/Newseum)
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The Newseum was open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. throughout the storm. (Donna J. Baker/Newseum)

Workers in the Newseum's food court prepare for hungry visitors. (Donna J. Baker/Newseum)
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Workers in the Newseum's food court prepare for hungry visitors. (Donna J. Baker/Newseum)

The Newseum is open. (Donna J. Baker/Newseum)
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The Newseum is open. (Donna J. Baker/Newseum)

The 74-foot-high First Amendment tablet on the Newseum's façade. (Donna J. Baker/Newseum)
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The 74-foot-high First Amendment tablet on the Newseum's façade. (Donna J. Baker/Newseum)
The Canadian Embassy, located next door to the Newseum. (Donna J. Baker/Newseum)
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The Canadian Embassy, located next door to the Newseum. (Donna J. Baker/Newseum)

America's Main Street, Pennsylvania Avenue. (Donna J. Baker/Newseum)
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America's Main Street, Pennsylvania Avenue. (Donna J. Baker/Newseum)

Dedicated Newseum staff kept the Newseum running. (Donna J. Baker/Newseum)
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Dedicated Newseum staff kept the Newseum running. (Donna J. Baker/Newseum)

A passerby gazes at the Newseum's First Amendment tablet during the snowstorm. (David Crews)
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A passerby gazes at the Newseum's First Amendment tablet during the snowstorm. (David Crews)

View of the U.S. Capitol from the Pennsylvania Avenue terrace. (Donna J. Baker/Newseum)
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View of the U.S. Capitol from the Pennsylvania Avenue terrace. (Donna J. Baker/Newseum)

Icicles hang from the Newseum. (Donna J. Baker/Newseum)
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Icicles hang from the Newseum. (Donna J. Baker/Newseum)

View of Washington landmarks from the Pennsylvania Avenue terrace. (Donna J. Baker/Newseum)
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View of Washington landmarks from the Pennsylvania Avenue terrace. (Donna J. Baker/Newseum)

Pennsylvania Avenue during the historic snowstorm. (Donna J. Baker/Newseum)
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Pennsylvania Avenue during the historic snowstorm. (Donna J. Baker/Newseum)

A Newseum security staffer measures the snow. (Donna J. Baker/Newseum)
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A Newseum security staffer measures the snow. (Donna J. Baker/Newseum)

The exterior of the Newseum during the 2010 snowstorm. (Frank Mitchell/Newseum)
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The exterior of the Newseum during the 2010 snowstorm. (Frank Mitchell/Newseum)

WASHINGTON — Through snow, slush, ice and more snow, the Newseum remained open throughout the historic snowstorm of 2010 which dumped more than three feet of snow in the Washington, D.C., area.

Many local attractions remained closed in the aftermath of the storm. Several staffers from the Newseum's visitor and operations services, facilities and engineering departments spent the weekend in a local hotel to ensure that the interactive museum of news opened safely and promptly at 9 a.m.

According to Donna J. Baker, senior manager for operations, the first visitors on Feb. 6 arrived a little after 10 a.m. They were a family of four from San Francisco who had flown to Washington for a weekend of sightseeing.

"They were very happy we were open and enjoyed a private Spotlight Tour with our volunteer guide," Baker said.

The Newseum's popular exhibit of daily front pages was posted on its Web site and in front of the building on Pennsylvania Avenue without a hitch. The Newseum ended the weekend with several hundred visitors.

The Newseum's open policy was a controversial topic of discussion on Facebook.

"Our Facebook fans have let us know exactly what they think. Some think it's not safe for the staff. Others think it's great that we're open. Most like the idea," said Paul Sparrow, deputy director and vice president for broadcasting.

The Newseum's administrative offices followed the federal government's inclement weather policy and closed Feb. 8 and 9.

As the Washington area braces for another Arctic blast Feb. 9 through 10 that is expected to blanket the area with an additional four to 10 inches of snow, the museum's policy remains: "Let it snow. The Newseum is open!"

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