A look inside the September 11 museum

Rick Moran

There have been delays due to funding disputes, and Hurricane Sandy flooded the space with millions of gallons of water. But gradually, the National September 11 Memorial and Museum is taking shape. And this Wall Street Journal article details some of the dramatic and emotional exhibits that museum goers will find:

A ramp made of dark wenge wood will carry visitors down between two huge rectangular volumes that hold the memorial pools in the footprints of the twin towers. On the surface of these volumes is a shimmering, textured aluminum intended to serve as an echo of the aluminum-clad towers.  

On this path, visitors pass through the first exhibits: voices of people around the world recalling where they were on Sept. 11, 2001; and images of missing posters projected on a wall. Here, they also encounter vistas overlooking immense spaces that evoke the scale of the towers. On a wall that separates the museum from an area where unidentified remains will be interred, a quote from Virgil's "Aenied" will stand in 15-inch-high letters reforged from salvaged World Trade Center steel: "No day shall erase you from the memory of time."

The museum, designed by the New York-based architecture firm Davis Brody Bond, was constructed around the largest, monumental artifacts. Among them: the so-called Survivors' Stairs, down which hundreds of people raced to escape the terrorist attacks, emerging on Vesey Street. Visitors to the museum will descend stairs beside it, arriving at bedrock.

Here, the footprints of the two towers will house exhibition spaces--one memorializing the nearly 3,000 victims of the 1993 and 2001 attacks, the other exploring the events of Sept. 11, the time leading up to it and how the world changed in its wake. Among the most striking artifacts are two pieces of steel from where American Airlines Flight 11 plowed into the façade of the north tower. These bear the marks of the plane's impact.

"It's just so poignantly evocative of the tragedy," said Tom Hennes, founding principal of Thinc Design, the lead design firm for the museum's exhibits. "It's bending over, it's almost weeping. It's this tortured, beautiful thing."

After promising not to charge an admission fee, the museum's board has decided to assess a "fee" of $20 to tour the museum. Family members of victims will be admitted free, however, and the admission charge is in line with other New York city museums.

Except this isn't just another museum. Many families will have a hard time coming up with that kind of cash and if the museum is designed for anyone, it is for young children who need to understand what happened and why on that horrible September day in 2001.

Many Americans have already left behind the emotional impact of that day. It is hoped that the museum will reignite those feelings and impart a resolve to never allow such an attack to happen again.

There have been delays due to funding disputes, and Hurricane Sandy flooded the space with millions of gallons of water. But gradually, the National September 11 Memorial and Museum is taking shape. And this Wall Street Journal article details some of the dramatic and emotional exhibits that museum goers will find:

A ramp made of dark wenge wood will carry visitors down between two huge rectangular volumes that hold the memorial pools in the footprints of the twin towers. On the surface of these volumes is a shimmering, textured aluminum intended to serve as an echo of the aluminum-clad towers.  

On this path, visitors pass through the first exhibits: voices of people around the world recalling where they were on Sept. 11, 2001; and images of missing posters projected on a wall. Here, they also encounter vistas overlooking immense spaces that evoke the scale of the towers. On a wall that separates the museum from an area where unidentified remains will be interred, a quote from Virgil's "Aenied" will stand in 15-inch-high letters reforged from salvaged World Trade Center steel: "No day shall erase you from the memory of time."

The museum, designed by the New York-based architecture firm Davis Brody Bond, was constructed around the largest, monumental artifacts. Among them: the so-called Survivors' Stairs, down which hundreds of people raced to escape the terrorist attacks, emerging on Vesey Street. Visitors to the museum will descend stairs beside it, arriving at bedrock.

Here, the footprints of the two towers will house exhibition spaces--one memorializing the nearly 3,000 victims of the 1993 and 2001 attacks, the other exploring the events of Sept. 11, the time leading up to it and how the world changed in its wake. Among the most striking artifacts are two pieces of steel from where American Airlines Flight 11 plowed into the façade of the north tower. These bear the marks of the plane's impact.

"It's just so poignantly evocative of the tragedy," said Tom Hennes, founding principal of Thinc Design, the lead design firm for the museum's exhibits. "It's bending over, it's almost weeping. It's this tortured, beautiful thing."

After promising not to charge an admission fee, the museum's board has decided to assess a "fee" of $20 to tour the museum. Family members of victims will be admitted free, however, and the admission charge is in line with other New York city museums.

Except this isn't just another museum. Many families will have a hard time coming up with that kind of cash and if the museum is designed for anyone, it is for young children who need to understand what happened and why on that horrible September day in 2001.

Many Americans have already left behind the emotional impact of that day. It is hoped that the museum will reignite those feelings and impart a resolve to never allow such an attack to happen again.