The Newseum set its all-time single-day visitor record on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, with 11,815 people streaming through the one-of-a-kind institution on national Museum Day.
The record attendance eclipsed the previous one-day high, 11,352 visitors, set on January 19, 2009, at the time of President Barack Obama’s inauguration and the annual Martin Luther King Jr., national holiday weekend.
Museum Day is a national initiative promoted annually by Smithsonian magazine. Participating museums and cultural institutions across the country provide free entry to anyone presenting a Museum Day ticket, available at smithsonianmag.com.
The Newseum is a 501(c)(3) public charity funded by generous individuals, corporations and foundations, including its principal funder, the Freedom Forum, and by admission fees. Last year, more than 850,000 people visited the Newseum, more than any year since it opened in 2008.
Newseum staff reported that at opening Sept. 22, visitor lines stretched about one block and at times reached the intersection of Third Street, N.W. and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., a distance of three blocks. The Newseum is at the intersection of Sixth Street, N.W. and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
“We’re gratified that so many people took time to tour the Newseum, with its special focus on press freedom,” said Carrie Christoffersen, executive director and curator of the Newseum. “Our visitors experience the story of news, the importance of a free press, and how the five freedoms of the First Amendment apply to their lives through compelling exhibits, powerful films and interactive opportunities.”
On Friday, Sept. 21, the museum unveiled a sculpture of Alice Allison Dunnigan, the first African-American woman to receive press credentials to cover the White House, Congress and the Supreme Court. Following the unveiling, a program in the Knight Studio on Pennsylvania Avenue featured Carol McCabe Booker, who edited an autobiography of Dunnigan, artist Amanda Matthews, who created the statue and Dunnigan’s granddaughter, Soraya Dunnigan Brandon.
Considered one of the most interactive museums in the world, the Newseum has seven levels with 15 galleries and 15 theaters. Exhibits include the 9/11 Gallery Sponsored by Comcast, which displays a broadcast antenna from the top of the World Trade Center; the Berlin Wall Gallery, whose eight concrete sections are one of the largest displays of the original wall outside Germany; and the Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery, which features photographs from every Pulitzer Prize–winning entry dating back to 1942.
The Freedom Forum Institute is the education and outreach partner of the Newseum, including the First Amendment Center, the Religious Freedom Center, the Newseum’s education department and diversity and inclusion programs.
NewseumED is a free online learning platform that reaches more than 11 million teachers and students around the world. Its unique approach to history, civics and media literacy helps students cultivate the skills needed to make informed decisions in a divided and demanding world.