‘Freedom in the Balance’ Launches on NewseumED

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Free Educational Resource Explores the Impact of the Sept. 11 Attacks on First Amendment Freedoms

NewseumED provides learners of all ages access to curated, standards-aligned content from the Newseum’s vast collection.

Today, the Newseum launches “Freedom in the Balance,” an online resource for teachers and students that uses the events of Sept. 11, 2001, to examine the fragile balance between the First Amendment’s five freedoms — religion, speech, press, assembly and petition — and concerns for personal safety, diversity and the public good throughout history.

The new educational resource is available on NewseumED, a website that provides learners of all ages access to curated, standards-aligned content from the Newseum’s vast collection of more than 35,000 newspapers and magazines, 20,000 artifacts and 40,000 photographs. “Freedom in the Balance” is made possible with generous support by the For Action Initiative and the Families of September 11.

In the wake of Sept. 11, Americans questioned how far our freedoms should extend and what price we are willing to pay for safety. “Freedom in the Balance” begins with the events and aftermath of the 2001 attacks, then explores how debates weighing levels of freedom, security and diversity have shaped our nation from its founding in 1776 to the present. The multimedia collection of primary sources and artifacts uses an engaging case-study approach to connect to crucial debates about our nation’s past, present and future.

Among the interactive features is a Freedom Quiz that encourages participants to choose between protecting individual freedoms or bolstering security. Questions in the quiz are based on real-life examples, and at the end of the quiz users can see how they rank compared to all quiz takers. “Freedom in the Balance” is designed to meet the needs of middle, high school and college students, as well as lifelong learners. The Newseum will host a Spring Teacher Open House on April 9 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with classes, tours and workshops related to “Freedom in the Balance.” Admission is free for educators, and those who register will receive a USB drive filled with teaching resources

NewseumED was launched in October 2015 with two EDCollections that provide in-depth interactive explorations of key topics built around historic print, newsreel and other artifacts in the Newseum collection. The EDCollections “Making a Change” and “Women, Their Rights and Nothing Less” explore how civil rights advocates and suffragists used the powers guaranteed by the First Amendment to make their voices heard and enact change. Both “Making a Change” and “Women, Their Rights and Nothing Less” are endorsed by the National Council for the Social Studies.

NewseumED includes more than 800 historic documents and 230 lesson plans that are easily searchable by type, topic and time period. The educational content is framed by the freedoms and ideals protected by the First Amendment, which acts as a springboard to explore more about the opportunities and challenges of our democracy. Full access to the site requires free, secure registration, but a unique “share” function allows teachers to offer their students a custom URL that provides access to the site’s content without a login.

Since the Newseum opened in 2008, more than 3.3 million students have taken advantage of the museum’s online resources and classes on media literacy, history, civics and more.

About the Newseum
The Newseum is dedicated to free expression and the five freedoms of the First Amendment: religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. Headquartered on historic Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., the Newseum’s compelling, dynamic and engaging exhibits, programs and education initiatives help ensure that these fundamental freedoms remain strong and protected both today and for future generations. The Newseum Institute promotes the study, exploration and education of the challenges confronting freedom through its First Amendment Center and the Religious Freedom Center. The Newseum is a 501(c)(3) public charity funded by generous individuals, corporations and foundations, including the Freedom Forum. For more information, visit newseum.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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