I've been to a lot of museums around the world (Louvre, Guggenheim in Venice, etc) and I think the Newseum has to be my favorite one of all (of course those listed are art museums, but you get the idea). I first came to the Newseum as a little kid just after it opened in Virginia. Now it has dramatically expanded and moved to a stunning building on Pennsylvania Ave with a perfect view of the Capitol.
This one's good for all ages. It's got loads of interactive stuff to please the little ones and enough in-depth information and critically-focused exhibits to interest even a seasoned vet of news and journalism. Yes, the tickets are pricey ($17 for students and $20 for general or so last time I checked) but they're valid for 2 days and are SO worth it. I really recommend going about 3 hours one day (at least that's when my brain can't digest any more, though I'd love to) and 3 hours the next. I've been lucky enough to get comp tickets from a friend a few times and have spent at least 6 hours there and still feel like I missed so much.
My favorite exhibits are the Pulitzer Prize photo gallery and the 9/11 Memorial. Be prepared to be moved though--this is obvious for the 9/11 Memorial, but the Pulitzer Prize photos portray some rather excruciating scenes as well (think all the famous Vietnam War photos).
In sum: DO IT DO IT DO IT! You will NOT regret going. I'd make this my first stop in DC if I were here for a tourist trip.
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