National September 11 Memorial & Museum

My summer plans remain summer plans, I haven’t done anything this summer yet. I still have about two months though, and I really do hope to do something, so when I think back, I’ll be able to say “Ah, I went (fill in blank) during the summer of 2016”.  For now, let’s go back to sometime in May when I took an after work adventure, and went to the…

National September 11 Memorial & Museum, located in New York, New York


The National September 11 Memorial and Museum consist of two separate entities, the 9/11 Memorial and the 9/11 Memorial Museum. The memorial is open daily from 7:30am to 9pm and admission is free. The museum is open Sunday to Thursday from 9am to 8pm and Friday to Saturday from 9am to 9pm. Admission to the museum is $24. The 9/11 Memorial Museum offers free admission every Tuesday after 5pm till closing. The free tickets are distributed at a first come first serve basis at the museum starting at 4pm or tickets can be reserved online one day prior. (Reserve the ticket online and print the ticket at home to avoid any unnecessary lines and for the best use of your time.) The National September 11 Memorial and Museum is accessible by various forms of public transportation and by car. There is no onsite parking and on the street parking is extremely limited, so public transportation is the best option.

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The National September 11 Memorial and Museum commemorate the September 11, 2001 attacks and the World Trade Center bombing of 1993. (A word about the 9/11 Memorial before delving into the museum.) The 9/11 Memorial is located at the site of the former World Trade Center complex, and features two reflecting pools situated where the original Twins Towers stood. The 9/11 Memorial Museum is pretty punctual with their timed tickets system, they open the door at the hour specified, but don’t expect to get in immediately, especially if there is a long line, as the security is pretty strict (Very similar to airport security; I waited about 25 minutes, which isn’t too bad.) The museum is located in the lower level of the building. Visitors start at “the Ramp/Introductory Exhibit”, which gives an overview of what happened on 9/11 and includes a variety of multi-media installations detailing the days following 9/11.

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Connecting the “The Ramp” to the other exhibitions is the “Survivor’s Staircase”, the last remaining above ground structure from the World Trade Center site. The staircase served as a route for many to escape during the September 11 attacks.  Adjacent to the staircase is the “Memorial Hall”, which features an art installation, “Trying to Remember the Color of the Sky on That September Morning” and a quote made by steel from the World Trade Center. Immediately in front of the staircase is the “Tribute Walk” that contains a variety of artwork created in response to 9/11. Following is the”South Tower Excavation” where visitors can see the remnants of the steel box column of the Twin Towers. Finishing out on the original footprint of the South Tower are two exhibits, “South Tower Gallery” and “In Memoriam”; both exhibits have a no photography policy. The “South Tower Gallery” features a media installation, “Rebirth at Ground Zero” that uses time-lapsed images and recorded interviews to capture the transformation of the World Trade Center site. (I skipped this exhibit as there was a long line to get in, and the run time is about 15 minutes.) Also in the gallery is “Hope at Ground Zero” a series of photographs capturing the changing landscape of Ground Zero. “In Memoriam” is the memorial exhibition, one of the two core exhibits, that commemorates the lives of those who died in September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993 attacks.

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Starting on the footprint of the North Tower is the “Center Passage”, where a variety of large artifacts illustrate the scale of the 9/11 attacks. The “Foundation Hall” contains remnants of the original World Trade Center, such as the Last Column, which was the final steel beam removed from Ground Zero. Next up is the “North Tower Excavation”, where visitors can see the original North Tower box column footings. Also on display is “Witness at Ground Zero”, a series of photographs captured on the days immediately after the attacks at Ground Zero. Rounding out the North Tower exhibits are “Reflecting on 9/11” and the other main exhibit, “September 11, 2001”. “Reflecting on 9/11” allows visitors to explore others’ personal reflections about 9/11 in addition to recording their own experiences regarding the attacks. “September 11, 2001” is the main historical exhibit that is separated into three parts: the Events of the Day, Before 9/11, and After 9/11, which discuss the day of 9/11, what led to the attacks, and the immediate aftermath, respectively. (This exhibit also has a no photography policy.)

I planned to take as long as necessary at the museum as needed, but due to time constraints, I only spent a little over an hour at the museum. (I didn’t want to be the last to leave, so I sped up a bit towards the end to make sure I saw everything before the museum closed.) The museum estimates that visitors will need about 2 hours to explore the museum, and I wholeheartedly agree with that estimation, as there is plenty to see. (Also allow for an additional half hour of waiting time, so if you plan to visit, allow at least 2.5 hrs.) The 9/11 Museum is more suitable for older children and adults as it’s a place for remembrance and contemplation. Anyone interested in  history should take a visit as anyone interested in learning more about the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001. The museum offers a lot of information, but I’m not quite in agreement with the steep admission price, thus if you are unsure about museum, take advantage of the free Tuesday admissions after 5pm and visit then. (You can always make a donation to the museum after or go back again and pay the full admission price.) The National September 11 Memorial and Museum is a place to reflect, to remember, and to recover, so take a visit, regardless of whether it affected you personally or not, and think about the tragedy that occurred on September 11, 2001.


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