Historical Society of Washington, D.C. Will Reopen at the Newseum

The C Street entrance to the Newseum is located on the North side of the building at the corner of 6th and C streets NW

The Group Entrance to the Newseum is located on the north side of the building at the corner of 6th and C streets, NW

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 10, 2017: Today the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. announces it will reopen to the public on September 19, 2017 at its temporary location in the Newseum. Located at 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, the Newseum will serve as the home to the Historical Society’s library and collections during the next 12 to 18 months to allow renovations of the historic Carnegie Library on Mt. Vernon Square by Apple. As always, admission to the Historical Society is free.

This week the Historical Society Board of Trustees signed a Tri-Party Agreement to share the Historic Carnegie Library with Apple and Events DC (Washington Convention and Sports Authority). The Carnegie Library will house the Historical Society above a new Apple Global Flagship Store, which will be located primarily on the first floor. The new arrangement will restore the exterior of the historic 1903 Carnegie Library. The interior spaces will be renovated, and the redesigned building will provide the Historical Society’s valuable collections with a museum-quality environment. The restoration will also provide expanded access for students, professional researchers, scholars, and the general public to engage with the Historical Society’s museum and library. The Historical Society’s new footprint includes state-of-the-art storage facilities, a renovated Kiplinger Research Library, and two new galleries with public program space on the second floor.

During the interim residence at the Newseum, the public will be able to access the Historical Society and Washingtoniana collections from the Newseum’s Group Entrance, located on C Street NW. Photo ID will be required for admission. Similarly the Historical Society will present two new exhibits. “For the Record” will open in November at the George Washington University Museum|The Textile Museum in Foggy Bottom, and in the Spring of 2018, a new exhibit about the Pilot District Project, “In Order to Lessen Tensions,” will open at the National Building Museum to help commemorate the events surrounding the civil disturbances of 1968.

Since May 2017 the DC Public Library Washingtoniana Collection staff has been serving patrons in partnership with the Historical Society in the Carnegie Library. In preparation for the construction project, Washingtoniana will move with the Historical Society to the Newseum and move back to Carnegie until the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library renovations are complete. Free public reference service will return on Tuesday, September 19 at 10:00 a.m. For details, see dchistory.org/CarnegieUpdates

“The Historical Society has worked on advancing this project proposal for close to two years,” said John T. Suau, Historical Society executive director. “We are excited about the partnership with Apple and Events DC as it represents a giant step forward for the building and the Historical Society, but most critically, for our collections. With a 99-year lease on the building, the Historical Society views this project as the best option for the building’s present and future. We are very fortunate to partner with the Newseum team during the restoration, and we look forward to renewing our library and museum in the historic Carnegie Library.”

“We are pleased that the Washingtoniana Collection will soon be operating with the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. out of the Newseum,” said Richard Reyes-Gavilan, executive director of the DC Public Library. “Partnering with the Historical Society of Washington has given local history and library lovers a place to research while we improve the city’s central library. We are excited that their temporary home will be our new temporary home so that students, scholars and the public can learn more about the events and moments that have shaped our city.”

The Apple Global Flagship Store is one of about 15 to be constructed in the world. In addition to selling Apple products, these new stores offer job-training, educational programming for local youth, entertainment and enrichment for the surrounding community, and a cultural destination for area residents.

“We’re excited to host the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. and its esteemed collection at the Newseum,” said Scott Williams, chief operating officer of the Newseum. “We share the Historical Society’s mission in keeping these historic and valuable archives available to the public while the library undergoes its state-of-the-art renovation.”

The Carnegie Library opened in 1903 as one of the city’s few fully integrated public spaces and served as the Central Public Library until 1972, when it was replaced with the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, which is currently being modernized. The 124-year-old Historical Society of Washington, D.C. is one of the most important local repositories dedicated to the city’s local history and culture. The Historical Society has been headquartered in the Carnegie Library since 1999 after an Act of Congress gave $2 million toward renovations. The District of Columbia entered into a 99-year lease with the Historical Society for the building to be used as a museum about the city’s history. In 2011 Events DC acquired rights to lease spaces in the building to the public for events. With the new arrangement, Apple and the Historical Society will be the sole tenants of the building, providing free access to the public with extended hours. Foster + Partners (London) is designing the restoration of the building, which will provide public access to more of the building than ever before in its 114-year history. The Historical Society will be located in the building until 2098.


The Historical Society of Washington, D.C. is a 501 (c)(3) community-supported educational and research organization that collects, interprets, and shares the history of our nation’s capital. Founded in 1894, the Historical Society serves a diverse audience through its collections, public programs, exhibitions, and publications. The Historical Society’s galleries and research library will be located in the historic Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square, 801 K Street NW after restoration of the building is completed; however, 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW is the temporary address until further notice. To support exhibitions and related programming at the Historical Society and to learn more, please visit dchistory.org.

The District of Columbia Public Library is a dynamic source of information, programs, books and other library materials and services that improve the quality of life for District residents of all ages that, when combined with expert staff, helps build a thriving city. The Library provides environments that invite reading, community conversation, creative inspiration and exploration, lectures, films, computer access and use, workforce and economic development, story times for children, and much more. DC Public Library includes a soon-to-be-modernized central library and 25 neighborhood libraries and also provides services in nontraditional settings outside of the library buildings. DC Public Library enriches and nourishes the lives and minds of all District residents, provides them with the services and tools needed to transform lives and builds and supports community throughout the District of Columbia. Established in 1905, the Washingtoniana Collection houses an array of resources and materials from the late 18th Century to the present, with a primary focus on the District. The Washingtoniana Collection includes Prints and Photographs and the DC Community Archives.

The Newseum promotes, explains and defends 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, please visit newseum.org and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.