The 911 Memorial Museum, New York opens to the public with escalating controversy as expected.


The 911 Memorial Museum is a museum built to honour and remember the victims and survivors of the 911 terror attacks on United States back in September 11, 2001. It is located next to the former site of the World Trade Center twin towers which had both collapsed from the tragedy. The former ‘Ground Zero’ is now turned into a huge plaza with two massive sunken pools that marks the base of the collapsed towers respectively. Each of the poetically reflecting pools is surrounded with stone engraved with names of the deceased victims from the tragedy.

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Yesterday, the memorial museum finally opened its door to the public and it has since provoked a range of reactions. For years, there have been tensions over how any memorial at this site would look and operate. Visiting the museum will be surely providing an emotional experience. The displays includes artifacts, large and small, from firetrucks to personal objects of people who worked in the two towers. The museum’s artifacts range from the monumental, like two of the huge fork-shaped columns from the World Trade Center’s facade, to the intimate: a wedding ring, a victim’s voice mail message. The exhibits tell the stories of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the 2001 attacks and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, as well as of survivors and first responders.

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Museum Director Alice Greenwald said the museum is “about understanding our shared humanity,” while former mayor Michael Bloomberg called it a reminder “that freedom is not free.” But the road to this museum’s opening has been fraught with controversy. One of the harsh critiques is that some people are considering the museum as a tourist spot that earns money off (or indirectly) from those who perished in 911 attacks. That sounds immoral. There are also roughly 8000 unidentified human remains kept in the museum, and that made people thinking that they are paying money to visit a cemetery! That’s a bit true too.

People also criticized heavily on some of the items sold in the gift shop of the museum that are hurting some people’s feelings particularly from the families of the perished victims from the tragedy. Well, I think that the museum’s operators or the authority should realize where they are standing and should be sensitive to all these issues before opening its door to the public. ‘Respect’ should be in their mind. In my personal opinion, it is still fine to have a museum to honour or to remember that fateful day, but people’s feeling should be taken care of in such situation. Nevertheless, the museum do receives some positive feedbacks too. Its controversy is expected, but this is what made the tour of the museum more interesting, isn’t it?

If I am given the chance to visit New York City, I would certainly take some time to drop by at this museum too. I’m worried my eyes would be filled with tears by looking at the emotionally-induced exhibits displayed. Even when I’m not a US citizen and that the tragedy was back many years ago (13 years to be exact), I still felt sad for the 911 tragedy.

Images and information sources:

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/reactions-911-museum-and-memorial-opening-180951513/?no-ist

http://globalnews.ca/news/1341315/photos-inside-the-911-memorial-museum-in-new-york/

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/05/19/us/9-11-memorial-museum-gift-shop/

http://www.cntraveller.in/news/911-memorial-museum-opens-new-york-today

http://www.911memorial.org/museum (official website of the museum)

 

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