9/11 Museum, Memorials, Freedom Tower
After the opening in May last year, the 9/11 museum was at the center of an intense debate. According to sources like CNN still 8,000 unidentified human remains are entombed in the bedrock beneath the exhibition space, while souvenirs like mugs, t-shirts and cheesy stuff are sold at the same place. Families of the victims have expressed their feelings by saying that it is insensitive to sell souvenirs on the place where people died or still are missing, while others criticized the highly admission fee of $24 making this place a commercial enterprise.
A graveyard that it is. Still It is an ongoing tradition tourists visiting places historically associated with death and tragedy. Entrepreneurs mostly use this as a profit which is on the on hand nasty and on the other smart. Normally I would think of churches, arena's, castles and battlefields and therefore it is bizarre to realize how quit recent this 9/11 history is. I wasn't sure if I wanted to spent time in a museum regarding an event so well documented and fresh in my mind. I already learned much about it in documentaries, newspapers and asked myself the question: "Will I hear or see anything new or interesting?" My hubby Remy had this place on his wishlist so I entered this museum having no idea what to expect. Let me guide you through the site and museum to give you an impression and my final verdict. :-)
On the original World Trade Center site you can find the memorial fountains and the museum. The memorials are 2 pools within the footprints where the Twin Towers once stood, pouring water into two holes – that where once the North and South Tower. The museum is underground below the twin memorial pools. Both the museum and memorials is a place to honor the victims of the September 11 attack and also to honor the twin towers. Additional a skyscraper was build which is now the highest building in New York and the USA called Freedom Tower.
Entering the museum is similar to a security check on the airport. Then you pass a picture of lower Manhattan around 8.30, 16 minutes prior the attack. When making your way to the next level you pass a half destroyed staircase which is called the “survivor staircase” used when people tried to escape.
Roughly the museum houses several exhibitions. The story of 9/11, before and after, is told with backgrounds leading up to the event the aftermath. While you follow this timeline, artifacts, images, audio recordings are shown making you reliving that day. Maps throughout the museum show visitors where they are standing in relation to the original WTC buildings which I found hard to realize.
In a short second the wall of faces in another exhibition room reminded me of the wall in the Tuol Sleng museum in Cambodia (another tragic place) where they exposed pictures of the prisoners before and after torture. However and fortunately this exhibition is not a horror wall and shows a photo from almost every individual victim. On the touchscreen you are able to click on the victims hearing and reading small biographies. This exhibition is sad but a beautiful dedication to the 3000 victims and set up in a modern way.
Worth a visit?
What I found interesting where artifacts as pieces of the airplaine and personal belongings. More remarkable the section of steels from the North Tower floors 93-96 - 96-99 and the point of impact where flight 11 pierced the building see picture below. I tried to illustrate it better in red.
No doubt the museum is really well done though this heavy subject. It is dynamic and modern and a must see when visiting New York. I learned a lot and have approx. 3 hours spend wandering around, reading and learning. The museum managed very well to transport you back to 2001 with all sorts of video’s, emergency’s calls and pictures.
I can truly understand the emotions when opening this museum especially for relatives cause for them this must be a sacred place. On the other hand it is in human nature to visit sites like these to learn more about what happened or just out of curiosity or showing respect? I see the site and museum as a beautiful dedication to all the lost ones but also the tragic event that occurred in the USA. Buy really do you need to ask $24 to enter? I did not expect to get such a good experience and moreover learn about unknown stuff. I highly recommend this place when visiting New York.
Would you visit the museum between other attractions? If you are planning to go, buy your tickets in advance to avoid lines.