Rev. Dr. Daniel Matthews, left, outgoing Rector of Trinity Church/St. Pauls Chapel and principal ESI designer Edwin Schlossberg in the new St. Pauls exhibit.
Just as it comforted rescue workers after Sept. 11, 2001, St. Pauls Chapel now brings solace to those who want to remember and commemorate the terror attack that happened in its backyard.
On May 3, the chapel will unveil Unwavering Spirit: Hope and Healing at Ground Zero, an exhibit of artifacts that highlight the rescue and recovery efforts.
Unwavering Spirit grew out of an exhibit that opened at the chapel on Sept. 11, 2002. It was intended for a limited run, but it became a runaway success and passed the million-spectator mark in March.
So chapel officials commissioned a more lasting exhibit to take its place. And while they are not calling it permanent, the exhibit is expected to be in place for a number of years. ESI Design created the new exhibition.
St. Pauls represents one of the few quiet places near ground zero where people can go to reflect on the events of 9/11.
The artifacts on display include pictures and prayer cards of victims, banners sent from around the countryone reads Keep Your Spirits Up, Oklahoma Loves Youand interactive monitors featuring voices of volunteers and people trapped in the towers.
Those are the most profound of all, said Rev. Dr. Daniel Matthews, departing Rector of the Trinity Church/St. Pauls Chapel, referring to the voices of the victims.
Lynn Brewster, Trinitys art director, said the church kept all artifacts relating to 9/11, including all the remembrances that were left in its wrought-iron wall. Those not on display were stored in a warehouse in New Jersey, but everything will be brought back to the church office and rotated periodically into the exhibit, Brewster said.
Nearly three years after the terror attack, the artifacts still exert a powerful hold on visitors.
We have a lot of Kleenex around here, Brewster said.
On Sunday, the Rev. Dr. Matthews will turn the church over to his successor, the Rev. Dr. James Cooper, at a dedication ceremony.
The exhibit is free of charge and will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.