There aren’t too many venues in DC that are interesting enough in their own right that they draw people to an event who might not otherwise attend. The Newseum is one such venue. It has the triple threat of DC event spaces: great location, great space, and a fantastic view.
The Newseum itself is a museum for the news. Jokes about the death of print journalism aside, the museum covers the history of the first amendment, has lots of cool media artifacts on display, has an exhibit on the dangers of covering the news in places that aren’t so free, and several rotating exhibits. It is a truly modern museum, designed for today’s attention spans (lots of interactive components, for example). If you are ever in DC I highly recommend a visit, despite the high price tag (about $22 as I write this).
Even better than visiting the museum, though, is hosting an event there. Depending on the size of your event you have several options, from a museum buy-out or an event in the great hall, to use of the 7th Floor Knight Conference Center, which is what we did for an event last week.
The Newseum is located on Pennsylvania Avenue, not far from the Capitol or the National Mall. The closest metro is the Archives, but it’s not a far walk from Federal Triangle either.
We were interested in hosting an event for about 200 people, so we were interested in the Knight Conference Center on the 7th floor. The conference center has its own entrance around the corner from the main museum entrance. The space consists of several rooms, all connected by doors. There are floor to ceiling windows in each room, and almost every room has access to the terrace.
The lobby, right off the elevator:
The main room – note the natural light!
The view down to the other Newseum galleries:
The Newseum prides itself in its state of the art technology, which was a bonus for the event we were hosting, as the audio/visual team was able to support the livestream capabilities we needed. The middle room also has a rear screen projector built in, which we used to our advantage for the event.
You have a view of the Capitol from within the conference center, thanks to the windows, but most guests are drawn to the terrace (and might not want to leave). It was a rainy day on our site visit so I don’t have any photos of the terrace, but it can easily accommodate 150 people for a reception. It would be an excellent location for a wedding ceremony as well.
Thanks to all the windows, you have a pretty amazing view even if you can’t use the terrace:
The in-house caterer is Wolfgang Puck and the food was very good, albeit not cheap. In fact, nothing is really cheap at the Newseum. They know they have one of the best event spaces in town, plus the great view (which makes it hard to get guests to leave), so they can charge accordingly. And they do a good business – even booking a few months in advance for another event in the fall, it’s hard to find a date since they are already booked up.
The service on-site was good, our event went off without a hitch. They are a bit of an event factory, meaning there isn’t as much personalized attention leading up to your event that you may get at a smaller venue, and they don’t have the same hospitality ethic as a hotel, but we accomplished our goals and we’re already planning on using them again, which we wouldn’t do if they were difficult to work with.
Have you hosted an event here or attended one recently? What did you think?
Top photo credit: Maria Bryk/Newseum