9/11 Museum pulls 'commemorative cheese platter' from gift shop
It's the definition of kitsch - a 9/11 commemorative cheese platter. It's just one of the many tacky items you can buy at the 9/11 Museum's controversial gift shop.
Outraged families demanded the platter be removed and museum officials complied.
A piece of questionable kitsch has been removed from the taste-challenged 9/11 museum gift store, officials said Thursday.
The tacky keepsake — a cheese platter shaped like the contiguous United States with heart symbols marking where hijacked planes crashed on Sept. 11, 2001 — had been on store shelves Wednesday but was gone by Thursday morning.
Museum officials confirmed its removal and offered no other comment, other than bristling that the item being called a “cheese platter” is actually a “commemorative tray.”
Memorial CEO Joe Daniels said gift-store managers will seek guidance from 9/11 victims’ family members who are on the foundation’s board as to which items to keep selling.
“Once the public starts coming in, you learn so much,” Daniels told The Wall Street Journal. “We in no way presume to get everything right. We will accept that criticism, absolutely.”
The Post first brought the museum’s odd gift shop to light on May 18.
The store peddles jewelry, a black and white “Darkness Hoodie” printed with an image of the Twin Towers, FDNY vests for dogs and a wide array of FDNY, NYPD and Port Authority Police T-shirts and caps.
Despite the US-shaped platter’s removal, those other taste-challenged items were still on sale Thursday.
Other oddball gifts on shelves Thursday included plates ($25) and cereal bowls ($14) adorned with images of the Twin Towers, a 9/11 eraser ($4.50), coffee cups ($14) and saucers ($6).
“The gift shop is a nice touch, but they need to pay better attention to what they put in there,” said museum visitor Janine Melisi, 40, a nurse from Farmingdale, LI.
“I know a lot of people who lost loved ones, and there are things in there [of questionable taste], and they’re making money off of that.”
Melisi added: “A 9/11 eraser? C’mon!”
As I pointed out here, there is a huge difference between running a tourist trap like the gift shop on the hallowed ground of Ground Zero and gift shops at other memorials around the country:
Nothing much wrong with a gift shop at an historic site. Gettysburg National Cemetery has a fine gift shop as does the USS Arizona Memoiral.
The difference is that both the Gettysburg and Arizona gift shops are not located on hallowed ground. The Gettysburg gift shop is in the Heritage Center and the Arizona bookshop/gift shop is in the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center.
The museum is situated on sacred ground. It would be like a floating gift shop over the USS Arizona or putting a commercial kiosk at The Angle at Gettysburg.
So does this look like a "commemorative tray" or a cheese platter?
What were they thinking?