(For lack of a better word, this is my disclaimer- Recently, I visited the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. Admittedly, I was extremely hesitant to visit the museum and relive that inconceivably awful day, and even more hesitant to actually write a blog post about it. My intentions for almostfreeNYC are to provide people living in/visiting NYC fun and inexpensive ideas on what to do, see, eat, etc., but to have a blog post about something so sensitive and heavy, didn’t initially seem appropriate. It was an extremely emotional visit and it still sits heavily with me weeks after visiting, and I expect that feeling will never go away. Even so, after reflecting on everything I had experienced at the Memorial & Museum, I think it’s important for everyone to see…for everyone to feel.)
The 9/11 Museum tells the ongoing story of September 11, beginning with events that predate that historical day (like the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center), as well as chronicling both the immediate and ongoing events following 9/11. The museum itself has faced a great deal of controversy since the beginning stages of its creation, many opposing its location. The exhibition is seven stories below ground level at the bedrock foundation of the World Trade Center…an exceptionally haunting site that many argue should have been left untouched. Although the controversies over the museum extended its opening date many times, they obviously and ultimately prevailed with the hopes that the museum will teach its visitors about 9/11 and how it continues to affect the world, as well as honoring the victims that lost their lives in that very site.
The Museum consists of three main areas which include, Foundation Hall, the Historical Exhibition, and the Memorial exhibition. Foundation Hall includes the original, untouched wall of the original World Trade Center, referred to as “slurry wall”, which through its survival, serves as a metaphor for strength and resilience even through devastation. Also in Foundation Hall is the “Last Column”, standing at 36-feet high. During the days and weeks after 9/11, the column was used to post missing persons flyers, mementos, and memorial inscriptions that still remain on the artifact today. Other artifacts on the exhibition level include the “‘Survivors’ Stairs” (Vesey Street stair remnants), that hundreds of survivors used to escape the Twin Towers on 9/11.
The Historical Exhibition consists of three parts which include the events of the day, before 9/11, and after 9/11. Each part of the exhibit includes photographs, video, real-time audio recordings, archival news footage, and audio of personal interviews and testimonies. Essentially, it’s a timeline of before, during, and after 9/11 and the significant events that live within each one.
The last part of the Memorial & Museum, is the Memorial Exhibition, In Memoriam. The exhibition room commemorates the nearly 3,000 lives taken on 9/11 and the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. The room is lined with a portrait photograph of each victim, as well as a glass enclosed selection of some of the victims personal belongings and artifacts. An inner chamber in the room displays a movie-like presentation of the profiles, photographs, and audio recordings of individual victims. In Memoriam also includes touchscreen tables that allow visitors to find more information, photographs, and audio recordings from family members of each person.
I whole heartedly recommend visiting the Memorial & Museum. It’s hard, and you’ll leave with a heavy heart, but it’s a beautiful way to commemorate the events of that horrible day and the victims of 9/11.
The museum offers Free Admission Tuesdays (tickets can be purchased in advance here). If you don’t order them in advance, tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis from 5pm-close every Tuesday. Regular admission is $24.