See what's inside the 9/11 museum, opening this week (slide show)

Finally! The National September 11 Memorial Museum welcomes rescue workers, survivors and 9/11 victims’ families tomorrow, and the general public May 21.

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  • Photograph: Amy Dreher

    National September 11 Memorial Museum

  • Photograph: Amy Dreher

    National September 11 Memorial Museum

  • Photograph: Joe Woolhead

    National September 11 Memorial Museum

  • Photograph: Amy Dreher

    National September 11 Memorial Museum

  • Photograph: Amy Dreher

    National September 11 Memorial Museum

  • Photograph courtesy 9/11 Memorial Communications

    An under-construction view of the museum's Foundation Hall

  • Photograph: Amy Dreher

    Steel support beams from the World Trade Center's North Tower

  • Photograph courtesy 9/11 Memorial Communications

    This intersecting steel column and crossbeam was found in the rubble of 6 World Trade Center on September 13, 2001.

  • Photograph: Jin Lee

    This pay phone from the 107th-floor South Tower observation deck was found in the wreckage at Ground Zero, demonstrating the diversity of material recovered from all levels of the Twin Towers.

  • Photograph: Amy Dreher

    This signal from the belowground PATH train station was also found in the wreckage at Ground Zero.

  • Photograph: Amy Weisser

    This damaged and charred FDNY ambulance, which was recovered from the World Trade Center site, is highlighted within an area of the exhibition detailing the recalibration and response following the collapse of both towers.

  • Photograph: Jin Lee

    This salvaged bicycle rack was located on Vesey Street at the northern edge of the World Trade Center complex. It was shielded from the impact of cascading debris by 5 World Trade Center, and left damaged but largely intact at the end of the day on September 11, 2001.

  • Photograph: Jin Lee

    This salvaged bicycle rack was located on Vesey Street at the northern edge of the World Trade Center complex. It was shielded from the impact of cascading debris by 5 World Trade Center and left damaged but largely intact at the end of the day on September 11, 2001.

  • Photograph courtesy 9/11 Memorial Communications

    Box columns from South Tower excavation

  • Photograph courtesy 9/11 Memorial Communications

    The "flag steel" is a piece of recovered WTC steel. Its graceful S-curve makes it appear as if it is a ribbon, or flag, flowing in the wind.

  • Photograph courtesy 9/11 Memorial Communications

    Operating engineers used grappler claws like this one to lift tangled steel and debris from the pile at Ground Zero, while spotters worked alongside them, scrutinizing each load for human remains.

  • Photograph: Jin Lee

    In the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks, portions of lower Manhattan became known as a "frozen zone"; photographs, diagrams and artifact installations will convey to museum visitors the experiences of local residents, schools and businesses that were affected by the destruction at the World Trade Center site.

  • Photograph courtesy 9/11 Memorial Communications

    The last piece of steel removed from the World Trade Center site during a ceremony organized in late May 2002 to mark the end of the recovery period, this column is covered with notes, messages and mementos of tribute affixed to its surfaces by recovery workers, first responders and family members of victims.

  • Photograph: Jin Lee

    An assembly of helmets used by emergency responders and members of city and state response agencies sit in front on large photographs of the cleanup efforts at Ground Zero, taken by photographer Joel Meyerowitz.

Photograph: Amy Dreher

National September 11 Memorial Museum

After many years of frustrating delays, the institution devoted to the history and impact of the 9/11 attacks is opening its doors. Progress for the National September 11 Memorial Museum happened in fits and starts, with funding disputes and flooding from Hurricane Sandy postponing the opening of the museum (the memorial opened in 2011). But starting tomorrow—Thursday, May 15—rescue workers, survivors and 9/11 victims’ families will be able to visit 24 hours a day, and on Wednesday, May 21, the space will open to the public (buying timed-entry tickets in advance is recommended; $15–$24, 9/11 victims' families and registered recovery workers free).


Exhibits include steel "tridents" from the Twin Towers’ original facade and the "survivors' stairs," which office workers used as an evacuation route. "In Memoriam" pays tribute to those lost in the tragedy, and a historical exhibition tells the story of 9/11 (as well as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing) through photographs, artifacts, and audio and video testimonials. The display also explores the origins of terrorism, including a screening of hot-button video "The Rise of Al Qaeda."



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