January 30, 2013
Declaration of Learning

Newseum CEO Jim Duff (far left) watches Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sign the Declaration of Learning. (Maria Bryk/Newseum)

Newseum Joins State Department in Learning Declaration

WASHINGTON — Newseum Chief Executive Officer Jim Duff, along with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and leaders of twelve government agencies and cultural institutions, gathered at the State Department Jan. 30, 2013, to sign the "Declaration of Learning," announcing their partnership as members of the Inter-Agency Collaboration on Learning.

This new alliance is part of a permanent endowment established by the U.S. Department of State to launch initiatives designed to increase learning through access to historic objects and new educational resources.

"The Newseum is honored to be part of this partnership which greatly enhances our vital role as an educational institution for the nation," Duff said before the signing ceremony, which took place in the State Department's Benjamin Franklin Room. "Our mission aligns precisely with the collaboration's goal of new and broader access to artifacts as tools for learning. We are looking forward to working with the partner organizations on this project that is so essential to our youth and generations to come."

Led by Clinton, who officially leaves the State Department on Jan. 31, the signing took place on the desk where the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783.

"This partnership will offer valuable resources for students and all the lifelong learners out there," she said. "It will help bring history to life and, we hope, inspire them to learn and achieve even more. Some of the students who will explore the Diplomatic Reception Rooms online may even become interested in a career in diplomacy."

The ceremony also honored Clinton for her role in making the declaration possible through the completion of the $20 million "Patrons of Diplomacy" initiative, which established the first permanent endowment for the Diplomatic Reception Rooms and the initial funding to launch educational initiatives to share the Diplomatic Rooms, their historic objects and the work that occurs in the Rooms with people around the world.

The Inter-Agency Collaboration on Learning is teaming with an innovative Hollywood creative agency to develop a new digital platform for the initiative. This online component will enable each partner organization to create virtual exhibits around its historic artifacts and primary sources, bringing to life the history behind these objects for students, teachers and life-long learners who "visit" the exhibits.

The Newseum has long been considered a leader in civic education through numerous initiatives designed to instill in the public the importance of the freedoms established in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Educating the public about the flow of news and information in a digital age — and linking that process to the core documents in our nation's history, such as the Bill of Rights — are at the heart of work by the Newseum and its affiliates, the First Amendment Center and the Diversity Institute.

More recently, the Newseum has embraced the role of technology in education with the creation of the museum's online Digital Classroom, a multimedia interactive cross-disciplinary toolkit for teachers and students.

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