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  • National Museum of Natural HistoryNational Museum of Natural History Washington, D. C.
    The National Museum of Natural History is taken care of by the Smithsonian Institution that sits on the National Mall in Washington, D. C. and admission is free to the museum that is open every day of the year. In its magnificent collections, there are more than 500 million specimens of rocks, plants, meteorites, minerals, fossils, animals and human cultural relics. It is the second most popular of the Smithsonian museums and home to 185 professional natural history scientists, the biggest group of scientists devoted to the study of the natural and cultural history in the world. It started out as the United States National Museum, opening in 1910, so that the Smithsonian could have more space for its collections and research. The structure wasn't completely finished until 1911, and was designed by Hornblower & Marshall. It is designed in the neoclassical style, and the first building to be built on the north side of the mall, on Constitution Avenue, and part of the McMillan Commission plan. In 2000, Kenneth E. Behring gave the museum $80 million and in 1997 had given $20 million to modernize it. Besides the exhibits, it maintains huge reference collections and research facilities, and in 2005, the Butterfly of Peace gem was exhibited in the United States, and in 2008, another display of 5000 square feet opened that is dedicated to soil and its life-sustaining abilities. Some of the features include the Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals, the Korea Gallery, Hall of Human Origins, Insect Zoo, Dinosaurs/Hall of Paleobiology, Western Cultures Hall, Hall of Mammals, Butterflies + Plants: Partners in Evolution, Ocean Hall, African Voices and Osteology: Hall of Bones. Temporary exhibits happening now include; Discovering Rastafari, Farmers, Warriors, Builders: The Hidden Life of Ants, Dig It! The Secrets of the Soil and Written in Bone: Forensic Files of the 17th Century Chesapeake. The museum contains an IMAX theater for feature length films and the Discovery Room, which is a family and student friendly hands-on activities room that sits on the first floor. A bird display is located on the lower level with all the migratory and native birds to the region.  The Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals contains one of the most magnificent and important collections of its kind in the world, including some of the most famous pieces of gems and minerals, including the Hope Diamond and the Star of Asia Sapphire, which is one of the biggest sapphires in the world. There are more than 15,000 separate gems in the collection, 350,000 minerals, and 300,000 samples of ore and rock specimens. This collection also contains about 35,000 meteorites, that is thought to be the most complete collection of its kind in the world. It is shown in the Janet Annenburg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals, one of the numerous galleries in the museum. The David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins opened in 2010, on the museum's 100th anniversary and named after Koch, who gave $15 million to the $20.7 million exhibit. It is devoted to the discovery and understanding of human origins and sits on 15,000 square feet of space. Specimens include 75 replicated skulls, an interactive family tree that follows six million years of evolution and a Changing the World gallery that highlights issues encompassing the global warming problem and human impact on the world. 

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  • NewseumNewseum Washington, D. C.
    The Newseum is an interactive museum containing news and journalism and is located at 555 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D. C. and the 250,000 square foot building has 15 theaters and 14 galleries. Their Berlin Wall gallery contains the biggest exhibit of sections from that infamous wall that exists outside of Germany. The Today's Front Pages gallery showcases the front pages from over 80 international newspapers; and other galleries contain current topics like the September 11th attacks, world press freedom, the history of the internet, radio and TV and the First Amendment. It opened in 1997, in Rosslyn, Virginia, where visitors could enter without a charge. Their mission is to help the public and the news media to better understand each other better and to raise the public's awareness of the important role that a free press has in a democratic society; but really, they are owned by the richest people in the nation, who all has their own bias and their own ideals, so they ceased being unbiased a long, long time ago. In five years, the museum has welcomed over 2.25 million visitors, and it is funded by the Freedom Forum, a nonpartisan foundation that is devoted to free press, free speech and free spirit for all people. This new newseum, does charge an admission fee, and has become one of the city's most favorite destinations; and their HIDEF television studios hosts news broadcasts like the ABC's This Week.

January 11, 2011