9/11 Memorial Museum

Thirteen years, ten days, and twelve hours ago.

Four planes, three buildings, and three thousand people later.

Three states, two cities, and one nation affected.

Women, men, children, babies, wives, husbands, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, newly weds, recently engaged, uncles, aunts, grandmas, grandpas, family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances dead. ll     I never felt such deep sadness, grief, anguish and heartbreak until I went to the 9/11 Memorial Museum. I went in not knowing what to expect and exited in complete disarray.

Upon entering the museum I walked down a flight of stairs with pictures of the Twin Towers being built. From there everything just started to blend together, but I do remember distinct sections. Among the structures presented from the remains of the towers was the “Survivors’ Stairs”. This stairwell served as an important escape route for many people that day. Most of the damage seen in the photo below was actually due to the recovery period not the attack itself.

“The stairway provides a powerful reference to the survivors’ story as well as a commemoration of the recovery period.”

Top half of the “Survivors’ Stairs”

Bottom half of “Survivors’ Stairs”

In memory of the victims of 9/11 (and also the bombing in 1993) a wall in the exhibit In Memoriam is covered with pictures of those whose lives were lost. There are interactive screens where you can click on someone’s picture and information (if available) pops up. In the middle of the room are artifacts of a few of the victims such as I.D’s, wallets, and even personal belongings that the family donated to the museum.

Another dedication to the victims is a giant quilt made by dozens of people after the attack. The quilt contains pictures of those who perished on the flights, in the towers, in the Pentagon, and the rescue teams.

Remembrance quilt

The last part of the museum contained the most emotional part of it all: the phone call recordings and the images of people choosing to jump to their death. I don’t even know if I can describe the remorse I felt for the victims and their families. Hearing loved ones call to say their final goodbye, to hear their voices one last time, to say how much they love each other, it was a precious moment. Thinking about losing my family is heartbreaking enough, losing them so suddenly and horribly is something I can’t even imagine. You can hear a few of the phone calls here, but just as a warning grab a box of tissues. I will spare you the pictures of the dozen men and women who decided to jump.

“Mark, this is your mom…the news is it’s hijacked by terrorists.”

If you visit New York City the 9/11 Memorial Museum should be on your itinerary. I promise it is worth the visit.

Spencer Finch’s Trying to Remember the Color on That September Morning (2014) consists of 2,983 attempts to replicate in watercolor the shade of blue of the sky on September 11th, one sheet of paper per life lost.

Spencer Finch’s Trying to Remember the Color on That September Morning (2014) This piece consists of 2,983 attempts (in watercolor) to replicate the shade of the blue sky on September 11th – one sheet of paper per life lost.

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5 thoughts on “9/11 Memorial Museum

  1. The way you approached this blog post was very different and enjoyable. It was not just a simple recap of what the museum was like but was more of an attempt to put your emotions in words after experiencing the exhibit. It all worked out perfectly. I got a true sense of what it would be like to visit and how it can be so emotional for the museum goers. It makes me want to experience it for myself. Not a lot of posts did that for me, so I have to give props to that.

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  2. This post was very powerful as it should be. There aren’t many positives in the 9/11 hijacks aside from the unification of the American Nation. It really stressed the seriousness of the anniversary and is a great reminder of a day that we should never forget. I enjoyed this post and it absolutely makes me want to attend the exhibit.

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  3. This is a great description of attending the museum. I really feel like I get a sense of how emotionally powerful these exhibits are. How long did it take you to get through the museum? It seems like the kind of museum that would have a lot of content to see in it. I also wonder how much of their attendants are tourists. This must be a huge attraction for out of town people.
    Were there any aspects of the galleries that you didn’t like? I’ve heard the museum is very expensive. I’ve also heard there are some controversies surrounded around the museum. It would be interested to contrast your experience with other people’s ideas on the galleries.

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  4. I appreciate the fact the you included your own personal experience in this blog. It really grabbed my attention and brought me into the post. I do have a few remaining questions though. What was your first reaction in entering the museum? Am I right in remembering that it is underground? How did the location on the specific site of the towers and being below ground affect your mood? I also wonder if you had any critiques of the museum. You did a wonderful job describing how powerful it was due to voice recordings, images, and artifacts. Because of these very things, however, I believe the museum has received some criticism, claiming the use of all of these is in fact unethical and insensitive. I wonder what influences peoples’ opinions on this. Did they know someone who died in the attacks? Were they even alive for them? It is clearly from your writing, no matter what the ethics, that this is museum definitely worth checking out.

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  5. The way you wrote this blog was was very engaging and did an excellent job of conveying the emotional aspects that the museum has. Starting it out with how long ago it happened was very effective in grabbing my attention. As I got done reading it made me want to go the museum and see it all for myself. I am curious what were some of the faults of the museum? or aspects that you did not really like or agree with?

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