Press museum 'Newseum' building to be sold

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jan 26 2019 02:01 PM

WASHINGTON D.C. - The Newseum, a Washington museum showcasing the news media and promoting a free press, will shut its doors at the end of the year with a deal to sell the building housing it, the operators said Friday.

The Freedom Forum, the creator and primary funder of the Newseum, agreed to sell the Pennsylvania Avenue building to Johns Hopkins University for $372.5 million.

The sale means the Newseum, which has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, will close its doors and seek a new location in the US capital area.

"We stand ready to continue much of the Newseum's important work for decades to come -- through digital outreach, traveling exhibits, and web-based programs in schools around the world, as well as hopefully in a new physical home in the area," said Peter Prichard, chair of the Newseum board of trustees.

The landmark building has hosted numerous conferences and educational events since opening in 2008.

Johns Hopkins said it would use the facility, a short distance from the US Capitol, White House and Smithsonian museums, for its graduate academic programs in international relations, business and other areas.

"With the acquisition and renovation of the Newseum, we will have an unparalleled opportunity to bring all of our current DC-based Johns Hopkins graduate programs together in a single, landmark, state-of-the-art building," Johns Hopkins president Ronald Daniels said.

The Newseum was launched with funding from the Freedom Forum, a nonprofit group created by USA Today founder Al Neuharth, but the center has been in financial difficulties for years.

"This was a difficult decision, but it was the responsible one," said Jan Neuharth, chair and chief executive of the Freedom Forum.

"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."