9/11 museum will charge admission after all
The 9/11 museum will apparently charge some visitors a fee if they make advanced reservations online or by phone, despite promising the familes of loved ones lost that day that admission would be free.
The 9/11 Memorial foundation, funded to the tune of $830 million, has begun nickel-and-diming visitors for ticket reservations.
Even though the nonprofit has long vowed admission to the sacred site would be free, it is now demanding $2 per ticket for all advance reservations made online or by phone.
Officials quietly rolled out the fee on March 1 -- but it did not escape the notice of some outraged families of Sept. 11 victims.
"I don't want the American public to have to pay a dime to pay respects to my son," said Sally Regenhard, whose firefighter son, Christian, died in the World Trade Center attacks.
"They made . . . a vow that no one would ever be charged for going to the memorial, but money is the bottom line here," she fumed.
"They're making money off the people that died. It's disgusting," said Jim Riches, a retired FDNY deputy chief who lost his firefighter son, Jimmy, on 9/11.
"The memorial should be free for everybody to pay their respects. You wouldn't charge money to get into a cemetery."
According to the memorial's Web site, the booking fees are necessary to "safely manage visitor capacity" while surrounding construction projects are completed.
The nonprofit claims on its Web site that it "does not receive city, state or federal funding for its operations."
But from 2006 to 2011, it pulled in about $295 million in taxpayer-funded grants for construction.
It also reaped more than $430 million in private donations after the tragedy, including pennies raised by millions of patriotic American schoolchildren.
This museum is different than any other museum in America. No one should ever have to pay a dime to visit it. An appeal for more cash should be made if there are shortfalls in the budget, not charge silly fees that only served to hurt the families of those who lost their lives that terrible day.
Going to a museum when I was a kid was free and fun. It now costs as much as a ticket to a ballgame. One of the best museums in the world for kids, the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago charges $18 for adults and $11 for kids just to walk through the door.
I would hate to see that happen to the 9/11 Memorial Museum.