Newseum marks the 50th anniversary of Stonewall riots with special exhibit; Hamilton Hotel partners to create LGBTQ suite

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On Friday, March 8, the Newseum opens a groundbreaking exhibit, “Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement,” which explores the modern gay rights movement and marks the 50th anniversary of a June 1969 raid of the Stonewall Inn in New York’s Greenwich Village. The protests following the raid are considered to be the catalyst that inspired the modern gay liberation movement and the ongoing fight for LGBTQ civil rights.

Family Pride Weekend (March 9 and 10) celebrates the exhibit opening by offering free admission for up to two children (18 and younger) with the purchase of one adult general admission ticket. The offer is only available at the admission desk on March 9 and10.

Saturday, March 9 features fun activities with mix107.3’s street team and a program hosted by The Jack Diamond Morning Show’s Jimmy Alexander at 2:30 p.m. in the Knight TV Studio.

The exhibit explores key moments of gay rights history, including the 1978 assassination of Harvey Milk, one of the country’s first openly gay elected officials, the AIDS crisis, Rep. Barney Frank’s public coming out in 1987, the efforts for hate crime legislation, the implementation and later repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” and the fight for marriage equality.

“Rise Up” also examines popular culture’s role in influencing and reflecting attitudes about the LGBTQ community through film, television, sports and music and explores how the gay rights movement harnessed the power of public protest and demonstration to change laws and shatter stereotypes.

yearlong program series, launched in June 2018, focuses on historic and contemporary topics from “Rise Up” and features journalists, authors, politicians and other newsmakers who have led the fight for equality. The exhibit, which will travel nationally, includes educational resources for students and teachers.

The exhibit will be displayed at the Newseum through Dec. 31, 2019.

The Newsroom: Rise Up Suite at the Hamilton Hotel

Hamilton Hotel Washington, D.C., which is current undergoing a multi-million dollar transformation, is also launching a temporary  LGBTQ signature suite in partnership with the Newseum that will be unveiled on March 18. The innovative collaboration marks the first time the Newseum has partnered with a local hotel in such a capacity to elevate awareness for one of its exhibits.

Hamilton invited award-winning actor, singer, producer, director and activist Alan Cumming to curate The Newsroom: Rise Up suite, commissioning him to select artifacts and images that illustrate key moments in the advancement of the LGBTQ movement. Front page news and pivotal cover stories from venerable outlets, including Newsweek, Time and Vanity Fair, will grace the walls, while ground-breaking pop culture artifacts from TV, music and sports further immerse guests into the breadth and depth of the exhibit. This specialty suite will also feature engaging news-driven amenities and exclusive perks for guests. 

“It is very important to me to remember and celebrate the activists and their sacrifices, which allow me to live the life I lead today: a life with rights and freedoms unimaginable in 1969,” says Alan Cumming. “Yet sadly we live in a time when many of those rights and freedoms are under threat, so the ‘Rise Up’ exhibition is a rallying call of not just inspiration but vigilance to protect and further the work and legacy of Stonewall. It has been an honor to collaborate with the museum, and I applaud Hamilton Hotel for presenting such a significant suite.”  Cumming will also be appearing at the Newseum following the suite’s unveiling in a discussion entitled Rise Up: An Evening with Alan Cumming.

Located in a 12th-floor one-bedroom suite, the Newsroom: Rise up suite offers guests a front-row look at some of the front-page news that shaped the past 50 years of the gay rights movement. Iconic newspaper and magazine features will adorn the walls, including pieces from Newsweek (“The End of AIDS,” “Barney Frank’s Story,” “Battle Over Gay Rights”), Time (“I am a Homosexual – The Gay Drive for Acceptance”), The Los Angeles Advocate (“L.A. Cops, Gay Groups Seek Peace,”) and Vanity Fair (“Call Me Caitlyn” cover story on Caitlyn Jenner, photographed by Annie Leibovitz) among others.  A selection of the artifacts Mr. Cumming has chosen to feature in a custom glass display include a souvenir program from the inaugural 1982 Gay Athletic Games, the script from the groundbreaking 1997 episode of the TV sitcom Ellen, in which lead character Ellen Morgan revealed she was a lesbian, and the album cover of the Village People’s 1978 Hot 100 hit, “Macho Man,” among others.

Other perks include access to the Newseum’s signature “Today’s Front Pages” exhibit, a daily, digital gallery of front page news from more than 800 U.S and international newspapers. Guests will also be able to explore Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs and interviews with the photographers through an augmented reality app that takes advantage of the suite’s coffee table book — a compendium of images from the Newseum’s Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery. Upon booking the suite, guests will receive two general admission passes to experience all the Newseum’s featured exhibits. Additionally, guests will have access to discounted tickets to exclusive Newseum events during their stay and will be gifted with a swag bag full of popular Newseum keepsakes to take home. 

“We are excited and grateful at the opportunity to partner with an organization as important and well-respected as the Newseum.  Our synergy exists not only in our shared belief in their mission but also in our namesake, Alexander Hamilton, a pioneering proponent of a free press who established a daily newspaper in 1801. In joining together, the hotel and the museum have created a new and compelling way to not only share our story with guests but also that of the Newseum,” said Mark J. Driscoll, Managing Director at Hamilton. “We’re thrilled to unveil the suite, just one of the many enhancements and refurbishments being made to the hotel as we transform it into one of D.C.’s newest, independent luxury hotels.

Rates for The Newsroom: Rise Up suite, available March 19, 2018, through January 1, 2019, start at $550 per night. To book your stay visit or call 866.407.1764.

Troy Petenbrink

Troy, also known as The Gay Traveler, is a well known travel and food writer. His has been a regular contributor to a variety of outlets including National Geographic, Travel Channel, DCRefined, CBS Local, and Metro Weekly. He also appears on local Washington news outlets as a travel expert.

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