Visiting the National 9/11 Memorial Museum
This week marks the 13-year anniversary of the life-changing tragedy Americans will never forget. After a decade-plus of grieving, healing, and resilience, the National 9/11 Memorial Museum marks a monumental change to the city — one that invokes a transformation at the revered site itself, and transforms the spaces left in the New York City skyline.
Photo: Amy Dreher
Expanded over about 8 acres of the 16-acre site, the memorial includes two acre-size square reflecting pools, featuring North America’s largest manmade waterfalls cascading down the eight sides of the pools. In the spaces the towers previously occupied, there’s a cleared space for called the “Memorial Glade,” and over 400 swamp white oaks including the “Survivor Tree,” a callery pear nursed back to health following the attacks.
Photo: Jin Lee
The Museum includes two core exhibitions at the foundation, or bedrock, of the historic trade center complex. The memorial exhibition — called “In Memoriam” — pays tribute to the 2,983 men, women and children killed on 9/11 and in the February 26, 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. The historical exhibition tells the story of what happened on 9/11 at the three attack sites and around the world. It also explores what led up to the terror strikes, examines the aftermath and shows how 9/11 continues to shape our world.
The 9/11 Memorial Museum recently launched “The Stories They Tell,” a series of free, 30-minute talks for museum visitors given by staff who provide a behind-the-scenes look at the institution and its collections. They are held in the museum’s auditorium on the second floor every weekday at noon.
Topics vary, ranging from the stories behind the large artifacts in the museum such as the Last Column, to ways that the museum uses the first-person narratives to tell the story of 9/11. Other subjects include history and memory, the creation and construction of the 9/11 Memorial Museum and the stories behind different historical artifacts, among others.
Also offered every 20 minutes is a screening of Facing Crisis: America Under Attack, which explores the events of 9/11 from the perspectives of key decision-makers and includes interviews with former President George W. Bush, NY Gov. George Pataki and NYC Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. The film is not played from 11:20am-1pm on weekdays and on Tuesdays from 3:20pm-4pm to make space for other presentations, and screenings continue until 7:20pm every day.
Open daily 9am-8pm (fall/winter). Tickets to the Museum are available at 911memorial.org. There are various discounts, and admission is free Tuesdays from 5pm to 8pm. 9/11 family members do not have to pay an admission. 9/11 rescue and recovery workers who are registered with the Memorial also visit for free. The Memorial is open daily from 7:30am-9pm; the Museum from 9am-9pm (last entry at 7pm).