July 14, 2008

Newseum hosts Family Day with the FBI

The FBI’s bomb-sniffing robot. (Scott Henrichsen/Newseum)
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The FBI’s bomb-sniffing robot. (Scott Henrichsen/Newseum)

Young visitor greets the robot. (Scott Henrichsen/Newseum)
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Young visitor greets the robot. (Scott Henrichsen/Newseum)

A child gets fingerprinted at a digital station. (Scott Henrichsen/Newseum)
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A child gets fingerprinted at a digital station. (Scott Henrichsen/Newseum)

Visitors try their hands at crime solving. (Scott Henrichsen/Newseum)
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Visitors try their hands at crime solving. (Scott Henrichsen/Newseum)

In the driver’s seat of the command post vehicle. (Scott Henrichsen/Newseum)
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In the driver’s seat of the command post vehicle. (Scott Henrichsen/Newseum)

A bomb-sniffing robot in the Great Hall of News. Visitors being fingerprinted in the Interactive Newsroom. FBI vehicles standing guard on Pennsylvania Avenue while a hundred junior special agents combed galleries for clues.

Had some Newseum staff embarked on a crime spree? No, it was just a little FBI Family Day fun.

The Newseum’s Family Day on July 12, held in conjunction with "G-Men and Journalists," the new exhibit on the FBI’s first 100 years, gave children and parents a chance to meet journalists and FBI agents, get a close look at crime-solving equipment and have fun exploring the Newseum.

Outside the Newseum, kids got a driver’s-seat view of a police truck and boat at the FBI Mobile Command Post. Inside, parents gleaned valuable information from "On the Internet: Safety First," a program that provided tips on safely surfing the Web, and three digital fingerprinting stations.

Some youth practiced their reporting skills with the Newseum News Hound. Others tried their hand at police work.

"The coolest part was when I got my handprint," said 7-year-old Jacob Lechner, explaining a technique demonstrated at the Crime Scene Investigation activity in the Learning Center. "What you had to do was rub your hand on your head, then put your hand on the paper, then this special kind of gray stuff. Then you have to put it on a magnet that the gray stuff sticks to. Then you rub it against the paper and it shows up."

The first 100 children through the doors received FBI/Newseum Junior Special Agent T-shirts, and those who completed a News Hound scavenger hunt — which required careful detective work in several galleries — received a News Hound pencil, an essential tool for young journalists covering a story.

Learning during the summer might not always be popular, but when solving the scavenger hunt meant scoring a mystery prize, the kids dove right in.

"It made them pay attention more," said parent Michelle Kozich.

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