After more than 22 years of operation, the Newseum announced that it is closing its doors at the end of the year in a statement that said that due to years of financial struggles continuing to operate in its current location “has proven unsustainable.”
The Newseum which was created by Al Neuharth who founded USA Today began operating in Virginia in 1997 and opened its current location in April 2008 attracting millions of visitors who roamed the museums 250,000-square-feet of exhibit space.
But in the end it was the high cost of maintaining the high tech facility which included television studios, combined with high admission fees in a city full of free museums and a general lack of interest in the First Amendment and the history of news reporting that led to the decision to close.
The fate of the Newseum has been in doubt since The Freedom Forum which has been the museum’s primary funder announced an agreement to sell the building to Johns Hopkins University, which plans to house its School of Advanced International Studies in the building after remodeling it.
In a statement The Freedom Forum said it “remains committed to continuing its mission to champion the five freedoms of the First Amendment and to increase public awareness about the importance of a free and fair press.”
“These educational efforts are needed now more than ever and that critical work will continue online and through public programs in Washington, D.C., and around the country.”
The museum wasn’t without its critics though as it tended to portray certain historical events with a liberally biased viewpoint and not as fair and balanced as Newseum officials would have the public believe.