News

New York’s 9/11 memorial museum readies for its close-up

New York’s 9/11 memorial museum readies for its close-up

9/11:Two steel "tridents" recovered from the World Trade Center site after September 11, 2001, stand in the entry pavilion area of the 911 Memorial Museum, which is under construction, at the World Trade Center site in New York, July 2. Photo: Reuters

By Ellen Wulfhorst

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A museum commemorating the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington is on the verge of opening, with wrenchingly familiar sights as well as artifacts never before on public display.

Among the first visitors to the National September 11 Memorial Museum are victims’ family members and others intimately involved in its creation who will attend on Thursday, after a Wednesday media preview.

The doors open to the general public on May 21.

The museum’s two main exhibition spaces, both underground, recall September 11, 2001, when hijacked planes slammed into the World Trade Center’s twin towers, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing nearly 3,000 people.

An “In Memoriam” exhibition, on the footprint of the World Trade Center’s South Tower, commemorates the lives of victims.

A historical exhibition, on the footprint of the North Tower, focuses on the attacks, what preceded them and what has happened since.

Some of the most moving displays are wrecked emergency vehicles, nearly 2,000 oral histories and poignant personal items that belonged to victims.

A large hall displays a so-called slurry, or retaining, wall that survived the attacks and a 36-foot column from the Trade Center site covered with mementoes, inscriptions and missing posters.

“It is incredible, and it will wind up affecting different people in different ways, depending on their experiences,” said Joel Shapiro, whose wife Sareve Dukat died in the South Tower.

Shapiro said he plans to be a docent at the museum.

The museum is the result of eight years of work, with input from curators, educators, architects, preservationists, victims’ family members, survivors, first responders, local residents, business owners and others.

It has been a key part of a complex and often contentious process of rebuilding the World Trade Center site that was reduced to the heaps of rubble and ash known as Ground Zero.

A recent controversy involved moving unidentified remains of victims to Ground Zero. Some family members objected, saying it was wrong to store them at what is essentially a tourist site.

“Part of the ongoing drama of the site is that you have 3,000 families, and they don’t agree with each other,” said Richard Hankin, director of a documentary film “16 Acres” that traced the contentious rebuilding process.

“There’s so many ways to be upset,” he added.

(Editing by Scott Malone and Richard Chang)

Recent Headlines

in Sports

This week’s top sports shots

Fresh
AP477743932569_4

A look at some of this week's biggest plays and best moments in sports.

in National

Making headlines this week

AP95041159581_28

A look at some of the big stories that made headlines this week and the headlines you may have missed.

in National

WATCH: The history of Memorial Day

23-overlay3

This All-American holiday took a long and winding road to become an annual tradition.

in Sports

This weekend’s sports schedule

lebronjames

Here's a look at some of this weekend's biggest sporting events.

in Entertainment, Sports, Viral Videos

WATCH: Getting married by The Rock

19-overlay7

It's normal to cry at weddings, but you'll laugh at this one too.