Contributing writer Cathy Healy has the scoop on a new museum exhibit in Washington, D.C., that appeals to her (and, let’s be honest, all of our) lurid fascination with FBI agents and the journalists who chase after them…
“UGH,” said one pal when I excitedly told him about seeing the mock-up of the D.C. Sniper’s car, which was used for the trial; the Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski’s actual cabin from northern Montana; and the high-backed wooden chair used to electrocute the man convicted of killing the Lindbergh baby.
I felt extremely uncomfortable watching the Lindbergh video about Bruno Richard Hauptmann’s capture and conviction, which indicated he may have been railroaded by public hysteria, and I averted my eyes from the electric chair—though I can close my eyes right now and picture it anyway.
"G-Men and Journalists" features a dozen main sections, each examining a major case or an aspect of the FBI’s first 100 years, a history that touches many of our most highly charged memories: Waco, the Oklahoma bombings, FBI spy Robert Hanssen (remember the 2007 movie, Breach?), gangsters, the Mafia, and Patty Hearst (the kidnapped newspaper heiress).
Hearst looked larger than life in the famous 1974 photo of her and her captors robbing a bank. In fact, Hearst was a petite woman, judging by the stylish, short coat on display, along with the gun she used. Patty must have been as slim and pretty as her blonde sister, Gina Hearst, who worked at the LA Herald Examiner years later when I was a reporter there. Gina parked in a guarded, fenced, well-lighted area behind the building, and we all understood why.
Give yourself plenty of time to see the videos, and watch the push-pull of agents and journalists—sometimes using one another, sometimes as adversaries. In all, you exit G-Men with much to ponder about the ripple-effects of riveting news on our own personal lives.
The Newseum is the newest museum in Washington, D.C. The 250,000-square-foot building stands at Sixth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., between the Capitol and the White House. It is across the street from the National Gallery of Art. Entrance fees range from free (6 and under) to $20.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
Read more: IT covered the April grand opening of the Newseum. Can’t wait to fulfill your lurid fascination? Check out the Newseum’s online interactive features of the D.C. Sniper, the Unabomber, spies, and much more…
Photo: "The Washington Daily News" Ten Most Wanted page, courtesy of the Newseum