The Newseum, a gallery dedicated to the profession of journalism, is almost ready for visitors! Soon-to-be-former Times media reporter Kit Seelye takes a look at the monument to press freedom, decidedly one of the most expensive museums under construction.

What Kit tells us:

The building's transparent exterior is meant to convey the idea of a free press and an open society. A mammoth rectangle frames the facade, suggesting a television or computer screen that provides what the museum calls a "window on the world." Visitors enter through a Great Hall of News, where they can see breaking stories on a giant digital "zipper" before setting out on a 1.5-mile path of displays and interactive kiosks. The building, which has seven floors, also contains 135 upscale apartments, Newseum shops and Wolfgang Puck's three-story restaurant, the Source.
But there's more! As part of its mission to enshrine the glamour and dangers of the newsgathering life, the Newseum will display a treasure trove of journalism-related objects. Normally, we'd come up with a "humorous" list of these "artifacts" which would almost surely include Steve Dunleavy's liver, but the actual list itself is far better than any joke list. According to the article, it includes:
  • Time magazine's armored truck from the Balkans
  • The laptop used by Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter murdered in Pakistan in 2002
  • The vest that Bob Woodruff of ABC was wearing last year when he was wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq
  • The cellphone that a Virginia Tech student used last month to capture a video of the campus massacre
  • A pencil used by Mark H. Kellogg, a reporter killed at Little Bighorn with Custer in 1876
  • The turquoise slippers worn by Ana Marie Cox when she wrote as Wonkette, the sassy Washington blogger

    There's also a display containing disgraced former Times reporter Jayson Blair's articles and a gallery:

    [D]evoted to journalistic ethics. It allows visitors to race one another to answer some basic yes-or-no questions on deadline. You are reporting on shoplifting and learn that your neighbor has been arrested, a potential conflict; should you tell your editor? (Yes, according to a Newseum panel of journalism experts.)
    We can hardly contain ourselves. You know, we don't get enough of the press celebrating itself with Pulitzers and ASMEs and other fake awards. We need the grandeur of a seven-story complex that lauds the dedication of our ink-stained (or pajama-bottomed) information gatherers. When this sucker opens, we're going to be first in line to see the exhibition containing R.W. Apple Jr.'s legendary expense reports.

    A Museum for Artifacts of the News Media's Hunters and Gatherers [NYT]