On Friday, the Freedom Forum, the creator and primary funder of Newseum, announced the sale of the building in which the museum is located.
The building was sold to John Hopkins University, which will use the building as a center for its graduate programs based in Washington, D.C.
Despite the change, the Newseum will remain open to the public through 2019. This sale came at the conclusion of a 16-month strategic review, announced in August 2017, of the Freedom Forum’s funding priorities. The review identified financially responsible solutions for the Newseum through partnerships, partial sales, leaseback scenarios and other joint ventures.
The Freedom Forum concluded that the sale of the facility was the best way to enable the organization and its affiliates to continue their First Amendment-based missions. John Hopkins bought the facility for $372.5 million.
Since opening in 2008, the Freedom Forum has committed over $600 million to develop and fund the Newseum.
In an interview with PR Newswire on Friday, chair and CEO of the Freedom Forum, Jan Neuharth, said selling the Newseum was a difficult decision, but a responsible one.
“We remain committed to continuing our programs–in a financially stable way–to champion the five freedoms of the First Amendment and to increase public awareness about the importance of a free and fair press,” Neuharth said. “With today’s announcement, we can begin to explore all options to find a new home in Washington, D.C.”
The mission of the Newseum is to increase public understanding of the importance of a free press and the meaning of the First Amendment. The Newseum offers the experience of the news, the role of a free press in major events in history and how the core freedoms of the First Amendment – speech, religion, press, assembly, and petition – apply to their lives.
Besides the Newseum, the Freedom Forum has funded the USD Media & Journalism department since 1988. The Al Neuharth Media Center is in partnership with the Freedom Forum and was built in 2002 to honor Al Neuharth, USD graduate and USA Today founder.
John Hopkins will use the Newseum’s building to further its graduate programs while carrying the legacy of the Freedom Forum and First Amendment.