Museums, Monuments, Newspapers and Contact Sheets

Over the weekend I went to the nation’s capital for a journalism conference. I did, however, have some spare time to do some extracurricular stuff and visit some museums and other points of interest. Washington D.C. is full of historical monuments that show the progress of American history at every corner. I wonder what Barack Obama’s contribution to this city will be – a statute, a plaque, another museum?

I don’t think yet another museum is necessary, but I am sure room will be made for the next president.

Anyway, the first stop on the museum tour was Newseum, the recently revamped space dedicated to journalism. When the tour guide at the museum told me that it could take at least a day to get through the whole museum, he wasn’t kidding. There was so much great history about the media to digest. One can look at newspapers representing almost every historical moment from world history. Someone once said that museums are really burial grounds for items that used to matter at one point. I believe newspapers will one day have a large exhibit there very soon.

Moving on to the National Museum of American History, which unbeknownst to me, reopened last week after two years of renovation. But I must ask what renovations? The place looks as crummy and claustrophobic as it always looked to my eyes. Needless to say, I didn’t spend much time there.

Just before I checked out of town, I did make a stop at Foto Week DC, a series of great exhibits around the city dealing with photography. I went to the Georgetown photojournalism exhibit, Contact/s. As digital imaging becomes commonplace, contact sheets are just as much a relic as newspapers are these days.

I think the folks at Newseum will have a lot of work cut out for them very soon.



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