Alan Cumming hand-selected artifacts and images from the Newseum exhibit for the suite at the Hamilton Hotel.

Washington, D.C.’s Hamilton Hotel partnered with the actor as a tribute to the Newseum exhibit, “Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement.”

This June marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, a landmark moment in the fight for LGBTQ rights in the United States. Washington, D.C.’s Newseum is honoring the protests and the legacy of gay rights activism with a groundbreaking exhibit called Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement. Joining the celebration is D.C.’s historic 1922 Hamilton Hotel, which recently underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation to its lobby, restaurants, and guest rooms.

The hotel tapped Alan Cumming, the award-winning actor, singer, producer, director, and activist, to curate a signature suite in partnership with the Newseum to celebrate the new exhibit, which opened on March 8 and runs through the end of 2019.

“For me, it feels very galvanizing to see that we have achieved a lot in a relatively short time, but there’s still a long way to go,” says Cumming, who selected artifacts and images that illustrate key moments in the modern gay rights movement in the United States for the suite. “The exhibit is a reminder that a whole area of the population were completely marginalized and completely invisible in terms of being seen as equal.”

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Artifacts including the 1997 script of “Ellen,” in which the lead character comes out, are featured in a glass case.
As a museum dedicated to increasing the public’s understanding of the importance of a free press and the First Amendment, the Newseum’s comprehensive exhibit traces the history of gay rights in the United States through newspaper and magazine articles, letters, photographs, and video. The exhibit is expected to travel to other cities in 2020.

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The one-bedroom suite combines the Hamilton Hotel’s art deco vibe with artifacts and images Cumming hand-selected from the exhibit. In it you’ll find framed cover stories and front-page articles from Newsweek (“The End of AIDS,” “Barney Frank’s Story,” “Battle Over Gay Rights”), Time (“I am a Homosexual–The Gay Drive for Acceptance”), the Los Angeles Advocate (“L.A. Cops, Gay Groups Seek Peace”), and Vanity Fair (“Call Me Caitlyn” cover story on Caitlyn Jenner). There’s also a glass case in the living room with a program from the inaugural 1982 Gay Athletic Games, the script from the groundbreaking 1997 episode of the TV sitcom Ellen, in which the lead character Ellen Morgan came out, and the album cover of the Village People’s “Macho Man.”

The Vanity Fair “Call Me Caitlyn” cover story on Caitlyn Jenner is displayed in the bedroom.
“I really love the idea that you can have a little mini museum in your suite,” said Cumming. His favorite part? A black-and-white lithograph of Stonewall with only a rainbow flag in color, located in the bathroom.

“It’s this very striking image. It felt to me like very present and now but also in the past because of the black-and-white nature of the picture,” says Cumming. “And I think it’s a really good thing, that it’s in the loo, which I always think of as this place where you have more time to just sit and look at things.”

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Guests who book the suite will receive two general admission passes to the Newseum (a $50 value), plus discounted tickets to exclusive Newseum events during their stay. They will also get a gift bag with Newseum souvenirs and gain access to the Newseum’s signature “Today’s Front Pages,” a daily, digital gallery of front-page news from more than 800 U.S and international newspapers.

Rates for The Newsroom: Rise Up Suite at the Hamilton Hotel start at $550 per night. The suite and the Newseum exhibit are both welcoming visitors through December 31, 2019. The Newseum will close its Pennsylvania Avenue location at the end of the year and is currently looking for a new home.

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