WASHINGTON - In a change from tradition, the entire length of the National Mall will be open to the public during the upcoming presidential inauguration, President-elect Barack Obama's inaugural committee announced yesterday.
The committee has pledged to make Obama's inauguration "the most open and accessible in history," allowing those who can't get the 240,000 tickets to the swearing-in ceremony on the Capitol grounds to fill the mall.
In the past, parts of the mall have been closed off as a parade staging area. The National Park Service has said that jumbo TV screens will line the mall to give overflow crowds a glimpse of Obama's swearing-in.
Park Service officials have said that they're expecting at least 1 million people for the inaugural, and the city has put the number at as high as 5 million.
Also yesterday, the Newseum announced plans to offer visitors a warm viewing spot at the only museum situated directly on the Pennsylvania Avenue parade route.
"We know not everyone coming to town is going to get an invitation to a ball," said Newseum spokeswoman Susan Bennett. "We hope we can accommodate a lot of people."