Polshek Partnership Architects via AP
This computer generated sketch shows the new Newseum, a journalism museum set to open in the fall of 2007 near the Capitol in Washington.
updated 5/9/2007 6:28:18 PM ET 2007-05-09T22:28:18

A used cell phone. An old vest. It's a mishmash of donations, and they're not for Goodwill.

They're items for display at Newseum, the journalism museum set to open at a new location this fall near the Capitol.

The cell phone was donated by a Virginia Tech student who sent CNN the footage from outside a campus building where a student gunman killed 32 people and himself last month.

"He was very interested in it going to a place where it would be publicly displayed in the right manner," said Newseum spokeswoman Susan Bennett.

Also new to the collection is the vest worn by ABC Newsman Bob Woodruff when he was badly injured in Iraq by a roadside bomb. But the Newseum's biggest gift, announced Tuesday, will be $15 million donated by the Annenberg Foundation. In recognition of the gift, the Newseum will name its largest theater the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Theater.

"My husband, Walter, dedicated his life as a publisher, broadcaster, diplomat and philanthropist to communication, education and public service," said Leonore Annenberg, foundation president and chairwoman. She said the Newseum will teach visitors of all ages about "the importance of a free press in all societies."

The gift, along with $79 million from 11 news organizations, foundations and families, is earmarked for the $435 million facility, scheduled to open Oct. 15.

Among the largest gifts were $10 million from both The New York Times Co. and News Corp., which owns Fox News Channel. Bennett said the Newseum had not set a firm fundraising goal but wanted to draw as much support as possible.

The Annenberg Theater will present a 4-D movie experience with an 11-minute trip through history, featuring Edward R. Murrow as a central character. Audience members will wear 3-D glasses, similar to an Imax film. The fourth dimension will be misting water, rumbling seats and other "surprise special effects," Bennett said.

The news, in 4-D
The original Newseum in Arlington, Va., was open to the public free of charge from 1997 to 2002. Officials at its parent organization, the Freedom Forum, decided to build a larger facility closer to the Smithsonian museums on the National Mall.

When it opens this fall, the new Newseum will be among the most expensive museums in Washington, charging $17.91 for adults (symbolic for the year the First Amendment was ratified), $16 for seniors and $13 for children ages 6 to 12. The 4-D theater will charge an admission fee of $5 in addition to the museum admission price.

Nearby museums, such as the Smithsonian museums and the National Gallery of Art, offer free admission. A new Madame Tussauds wax museum opening this fall is expected to charge about $20 or $25.

"We are a nonprofit organization," Bennett said. "We needed to generate some revenues to help offset the cost of running this new and much larger and improved Newseum."

The seven-level museum also will feature other interactive exhibits, 15 theaters, two broadcast studios and a 74-foot-tall marble engraving of the First Amendment.


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