I went to the Newseum today and had quite the time basking in that shrine to journalism.
The first exhibit I visited was dedicated to Pulitzer Prize winning photographs. Most of them were absolutely fantastic and I found myself audibly responding to several with outbursts of “Wow! Holy shit! Geepers!”
I respect the Pulitzer Prize and its name sake but its also worth mentioning that Pulitzer helped pioneer yellow journalism. Yellow journalism sensationalized the news in order to sell more papers than the competition. While his papers did legitimate reporting I feel this monkeyshines tarnish his legacy just a tad. However he did donate a ton of money to journalism programs and at least none of his kids are known for gallivanting with the Symbionese Liberation Army.
I meandered around for a few hours checking out the sights, but I didn’t stumble on to the best exhibit until about an hour before I left. The FBI had a crime exhibit that was absolutely fantastic. Disclosure: I’m pretty fascinated with crime and mayhem. It probably has something to do with my interest in weirdos, and their antics.
Anyways, the artifacts in this exhibit were mind-boggling and I was bouncing around more excited than a little kid. The first thing you see walking in is the SUV that was left to explode in Times Square in 2010. Just around the corner was the bucket hat White Bulger wore while on the lam in California. Further down was the laptop Ross Ulbicht use to run Silk Road, and you had to walk past John Dillinger’s pistol to exit. However my favorite thing on display was the Unabomber’s cabin. Not a reconstruction but the actual shanty he built in Montana.
This made me wonder all this crap is kept when its not on display in a museum. I would love to have to opportunity to root around in that facility. I also wondered why some of that stuff is kept and how long do they plan to do so? As much as I enjoyed seeing the Unabomber’s shed I really wondered why you would keep it. I can see keeping that stuff until the end of a trial but afterwards I think it could be argue you could throw some of that stuff on the heap. And maybe they do.
I don’t know why I’m surprised though because we are a nation of hoarders. If people keep 30 years of newspapers in their living rooms its only fair sense we keep things that are actually of historic significance.