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At Newseum, Wolfgang Puck And Big Trucks

Monday, April 10, 2006

The last undeveloped site on Pennsylvania Avenue NW between the Capitol and the White House is undeveloped no more. The Newseum, a museum about the news media and the First Amendment under construction at Sixth Street, has been topped off and is set to open in fall 2007, said Charles L. Overby, chairman and chief executive of the Freedom Forum and the Newseum.

The museum plans to announce today that it has reached an agreement for celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck to open a high-end restaurant in the $435 million facility. It would be the first such top-of-the-line restaurant in Washington for Puck, known for his Los Angeles restaurant Spago. But it won't be the first stylish restaurant in a D.C. museum; Zola, in the International Spy Museum, paved the way.

The Freedom Forum's Newseum in Rosslyn closed in 2002 to make way for its bigger successor in the District.

One exhibit is already in place, though construction won't be done until summer 2007. The foundation obtained the first news satellite truck, an artifact of broadcast history. The only problem: It was too big to fit through any of the doors planned for the facility. Workers hoisted it in last month and will finish the building around it.

Presumably, future curators will like the truck as much as the current staff does. Short of dismantling it with blowtorches, getting it out may not be an option.

-- Neil Irwin

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