Volume 22, Number 25 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | October 30 - November 6, 2009
The 9/11 Museum has a place to go right now
By Joe Daniels
Downtown Express file photo by Lorenzo Ciniglio
The Preview Site to the 9/11 Memorial opened on Vesey St. in August.
Over the past year, steel and concrete have filled the western half of the World Trade Center site, shaping the memorial pools and forming the underground spaces of the museum. This tremendous construction progress is keeping us on track to reach our goal to open the memorial by the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in 2011.
In August, we worked with the Port Authority, which is managing the construction, to transfer the historic “Last Column” back to bedrock, where it will be a key feature of the museum. The column has mementos, memorial inscriptions and missing posters, placed there by workers during the nine month rescue and recovery effort.
In the coming months, construction momentum will continue to build. As a result of the united dedication of all stakeholders in the World Trade Center redevelopment, including the City of New York, the Port Authority, and Silverstein Properties, the memorial has been unanimously prioritized and construction has progressed on schedule. When the eyes of the world are focused on the site on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, we expect to deliver a memorial that the city can be proud of, one that enhances the surrounding community and makes a lasting impression on all visitors.
We understand the importance of communicating that progress to the public and informing the thousands of visitors who already come to the site each day. To accomplish this, we recently opened the 9/11 Memorial Preview Site, adjacent to the World Trade Center site at 20 Vesey St. This space includes models and renderings to illustrate what the site will look like when the memorial is complete, and real-time images of the construction are on display.
Visitors to the Preview Site have the opportunity to participate in creating the Memorial Museum by recording their 9/11 stories for inclusion within the museum’s exhibitions. In its first six weeks, the Preview Site welcomed more than 100,000 visitors from around the world, a clear indication of the public’s desire to preserve the memories of 9/11 and the aftermath that followed.
As construction progresses, the museum staff continue to develop the exhibitions that will realize our twin missions of commemoration and education. In turn, the permanent collection of objects, stories, and digital material is quickly growing. We invite you to explore some of our recent acquisitions on our website, www.national911memorial.org.
To help build our institutional archive, we recently launched a new online initiative called “Make History” at www.911history.org that allows people to upload their photographs, videos, and stories. Uploads are then mapped in Google street view—an immersive ground-level photography feature of Google Maps— so that photographs become juxtaposed with current day panoramas of the locations from which they were taken. The content is also stamped to allow visitors to search by time, location and subject.
This archive will provide a deeper understanding of the ways 9/11 and its aftermath were experienced around the world. Whether one was here in New York City during the attacks, or watching the events unfold on television in Tokyo, or stuck in an airport in Sydney — people from around the world experienced 9/11 firsthand and can be a part of history by contributing to Make History, part of the Memorial Museum’s permanent collection.
As Lower Manhattan residents and business owners, we hope that you will continue to be involved in the development of this historic project. We will continue to provide updates and welcome any questions you might have by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 212-312-8800.
Joe Daniels is president & C.E.O. of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.