The 9/11 Memorial & Museum Stands Triumphant

After a decade-plus of grieving, healing, and resilience, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum marks a monumental change to the city—one that invokes forward thinking and hope, transforming the spaces left in the New York City skyline. Since its opening in May 2014, the museum has welcomed nearly seven million visitors.

national 9/11 museum memorial

Expanded over roughly eight acres of the 16-acre site, the memorial portion includes two reflecting pools, featuring North America’s largest manmade waterfalls cascading down eight sides. In the spaces the towers previously occupied, there’s a cleared space for gatherings and special ceremonies called the Memorial Plaza, with over 400 swamp white oaks and the “Survivor Tree,” a Callery pear nursed back to health following the attacks.
Many veterans and active-duty military who have visited the 9/11 Memorial & Museum cite the events of September 11th, 2001 as their motivation or call to serve.

The museum includes two core exhibitions at the foundation, or bedrock, of the historic complex. The memorial exhibition—In Memoriam—pays tribute to the 2,983 men, women and children killed on 9/11 and in the 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 immediate aftermath, and shows how 9/11 continues to shape our world.

September 12, 2016 marks the opening of the first-ever special exhibition at the Museum. Rendering the Unthinkable: Artists Respond to 9/11 brings together media ranging from paintings and sculpture to works on paper and video to look at 13 New York artists’ reactions to the terror attacks.

The 9/11 Memorial Museum has also 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 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.

The museum also offers regular film screenings and live talks. Facing Crisis: America Under Attack is a 15-minute film in which key 9/11 decision-makers describe the events of the day. Produced exclusively for screening in the museum’s auditorium, the film includes original interviews with former President George W. Bush, New York Governor George Pataki, and New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

For ease of navigation, the museum has a free downloadable Explore 9/11 app, with a “map” and “story” mode. Guided/group tours are available. For more information and reservations, email or call 212-266-5211. There’s also a new podcast,  OUR CITY. OUR STORY., a collection of stories of resilience and hope surrounding 9/11, as told today by New Yorkers.

foundation hall national 9/11 museum

Image: Jin Lee

The 9/11 Memorial Museum is open Mon-Thurs, 9am-8pm (last entry 6pm)
and Fri-Sat, 9am-9pm (last entry 7pm). 180 Greenwich St., 212-266-5211,

Founded by the September 11th Families’ Association, the nearby 9/11 Tribute Center offers visitors to the World Trade Center site deeply moving gallery experiences and meaningful walking tours of the 9/11 Memorial led by volunteer guides—including family members, survivors, recovery workers, and volunteers—who share their personal experiences. Open daily, 10am-6pm (until 5pm on Sundays). 120 Liberty St. (Greenwich St.), 866-737-1184,

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