The financially struggling Newseum which moved from Virginia to D.C. in 2008 announced that it has agreed to sell its Pennsylvania Ave. location to Johns Hopkins University for $372.5 million.
The Newseum will remain open through 2019 while museum executives search for a new and presumably less costly location at which to operate.
“This was a difficult decision, but it was the responsible one,” Jan Neuharth, the chairwoman, and CEO of the Freedom Forum, said in a statement on Friday. “We remain committed to continuing our programs — in a financially sustainable way — to champion the five freedoms of the First Amendment and to increase public awareness about the importance of a free and fair press. With today’s announcement, we can begin to explore all options to find a new home in the Washington, D.C., area.”
Johns Hopkins plans to use the space for its school of Advanced International Studies.
“Acquiring this iconic property in the heart of the nation’s capital will represent a transformative moment for Johns Hopkins University and place our research and expertise in the midst of national and global decision-making,” Johns Hopkins said in a statement on Friday.
The Freedom Forum has spent an estimated $600 million in the past two decades to try and keep the Newseum –the brainchild of USA Today founder Al Neuharth afloat, but a shrinking endowment and lackluster interest from the public led to chronic multimillion-dollar deficits culminating with Friday’s building sale announcement.