When it comes to remembering the 9/11 terror attacks, personal stories can be the most moving reminder. The 9/11 Tribute Museum opened in 2006 in a former deli near the National September 11 Memorial and Museum site, intended as a temporary shrine to the victims during construction of the larger museum–and it has grown even since the latter opened. The Tribute Museum offers tours of the rebuilt World Trade Center site led by survivors, first responders, relatives of victims and others with close connections to the tragedy. Crain’s reports that the museum reopened today in a much larger location, slightly further from the memorial but with more space dedicated to victims’ personal stories.
Since the Tribute Museum–co-founded by CEO Jennifer Adams-Webb and the September 11th Families’ Association and originally called the Tribute Center–first opened in its temporary location, it has received more than 4 million visitors. The new space, a few blocks away on the lower two floors of a high-rise building, spans 36,000 square feet, about half of which is exhibition space.
Lee Ielpi, who lost his firefighter son Jonathan in the attacks, praised the continuing efforts of both museums, explaining that the two “complement each other,” and that the Tribute Museum personalizes the experience through tours led by those close to the tragedy. “It is crucial that we pass on the understanding of 9/11 to future generations and the tremendous spirit of resilience and service that arose after the attacks.”
Artifacts on display include “missing persons” posters from the aftermath of the attacks, a death certificate, a boarding pass from one of the flights and a section of window from one of the hijacked planes. The museum also offers programs for schoolchildren. The much larger National September 11 Memorial and Museum serves as the country’s principal institution dedicated to telling the 9/11 story through interactive technology, archives and filmed narratives.
The new Tribute Museum location cost $8.7 million, with private and public funds coming from American Express, Zurich North America and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, owners of the Trade Center site.
The Tribute Museum’s strength comes from the stories of those close to the tragedy, said Lee Skolnick, whose firm designed the museum’s layout. “The fact that survivors, responders and citizens discovered the ‘seeds of service’ growing out of unimaginable tragedy is a testament to the power of the human spirit and an amazing life lesson for us all.”
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