Monday, January 30, 2012
Freedom of Comics: Trip to the Newseum
Recently I went on a spontaneous trip to the Newseum in Washington, DC. Being that free tickets were available to use only for that day it was a last minute chance to use or lose. Since I had wanted to check out the new Newseum out for awhile, it was a perfect opportunity to take advantage and save on the $21.95 admission fee. I had previously been to the old location in Arlington many years ago.
This museum is highly recommend, not only because it recognizes journalism, but also because of the reminder it placed on me about the Five Freedoms of Americans (Speech, Press, Religion, Petition, Assembly). In addition I am impressed with the value the museum placed on visual art and how that relates to our society and communication.
I didn't realize cartoons and comics would get as much exposure as they did at the Newseum, which is a welcome surprise. They had a section all about comic strips called "The Funny Pages" and another focusing on the editorial cartoons of Doug Marlette. It was refreshing to see cartoons get as much respect as Pulitzer Prize winning photographs or pieces of the Berlin Wall.
Other sights that were of interest to me were Tom Russert's office, the Unabomber's cabin house, 9/11 gallery featuring the top portion of the Trade Center, some John Dillinger stuff, Daniel Pearl's personal materials, a blurb about Matt Drudge, and a small exhibit on the President's First Dogs. We had a great time and judging from spending over six hours in the museum, I'd say the value is worth the time to recognize our freedoms.
I was reminded of the great independence and privilege cartoonists have about getting their message and stories out and will soon be implementing this more with my comic strip, Curls.