Massive First Amendment Facade Moved to New Facility Home

  June 4, 2021

By Dave Lubach

The Newseum in Washington D.C. closed two years ago, but the museum’s famous facade will live on at another venue, in another historic American city.

A massive tablet containing the first 45 words of the First Amendment and welcomed visitors to the museum is being preserved and will be moving to the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, where it will be on public display.

The Newseum, a museum dedicated to the history of journalism, closed its doors in 2019 and the building was sold to Johns Hopkins University. Efforts then started to save the marble tablet, which weighs 50 tons and is 74 feet tall.

Thanks to a gift from private donors to fund the project, the tablet will be redesigned and installed at its new home in preparation for unveiling in fall.

“It was important for us to find a location for the tablet where it could be on public display, and where millions of Americans could continue to expand their understanding of and appreciation for our First Amendment,” says Jan Neuharth, chair and CEO of the Freedom Forum, a group that owned the tablet.”

The removal process has started, but it’s not easy to remove such a huge piece of history. The tablet is made of Tennessee pink marble and was engraved, fabricated and erected in 2007. 

The tablet will take on a reconfigured look in Philadelphia. The tablet is being removed in sections and will be transported to its new home, where it will be on public display on a 100-foot long wall in an atrium overlooking Independence Mall in Philadelphia. The new presentation will give the piece a more horizontal look than how it was presented in D.C.


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