The Learning Center classes are included free with the field trips, but need to be booked in advance. They recommend your students only attend one Learning Center class per trip, but won't stop you if you want to do more (e.g. one in the morning and one in the afternoon). Don't forget, there's a lot to see inside the museum too! The Learning Center classes are focused on First Amendment rights, history, civics, and media literacy. I attended a number of Learning Center classes during the Open House and they are highly engaging and educational. Students will definitely leave having learned some valuable information. These classes are designed for students Grade 3 and up (including college students). The same Learning Center class will be tailored to the age and needs of your class. The classes for younger kids are more hands-on than for the older kids. What makes the classes so good are the instructors. They are extremely knowledgeable and engaging. It is nice to have someone with added credibility reinforce what you are teaching in class. One other thought... you will definitely take away ideas from the Learning Center classes that you can use with students in the future if you aren't able to schedule a field trip.
If you can't bring your class to the Newseum, they have created a portal of Educational Resources you can use in the classroom. called Digital Classroom. The materials are free for teachers. All you have to do is register. It includes primary sources, interactives, videos and lesson plans that bring history, journalism and the First Amendment to life for students. Many of the videos from the Newseum exhibits are available on the site. You can also access all the Today's Front Pages.
A couple of last thoughts. I took the Civil Rights tour and think students would love the fact that it focuses on how important the "students" were to the movement. The exhibit encourages students to "have a voice". I also enjoyed the 4D movie. It was a lot of fun and would really help students understand the history and importance of newscasting over the years. Sometimes newscasting can be characterized as simply sound bites or sensationalizing. This movie reminds you of the sacrifice that so many reporters made (and continue to make) to change our world. It's important for all of us not to forget that.