Freedom Tower stands tall, near where the Twin Towers once dominated. It’s an impressive sight, even though you can’t get too close to it yet. If you look just right, it appears to extend forever into the sky.
My family and I visited the 911 Memorial Museum earlier this summer. Every trip I make to New York City, I take time to visit where the towers once stood. Over the last 13 years, I’ve been amazed at the changes that continue since that fateful day. Now, two beautiful waterfalls are in the spots where the towers once were. The names of those who lost their lives cover the metal rims of both waterfalls.
We made the decision to go down to the 911 Memorial Museum and took the kids with us. At one point, I didn’t want to go because I thought it would be too intense for two young children. My son, 8, got very upset with us when he thought we had changed our minds about going. So, we talked to the museum officials about it, and were told that there were parts of the museum that were graphic, but these areas are clearly labeled and you’re able to forgo them. So, we made the decision to go and we’re glad we did. It was a teachable moment which prompted great questions from both our children. We were able to use facts, images, and the scene itself to explain what happened on 911, before they were even born.
Note: the 911 Memorial Museum website has this to say in response to the question, “Is the museum appropriate for children? The historical exhibition may not be appropriate for visitors younger than 10. Adults accompanying younger visitors should exercise discretion before entering.”
The museum is easy to walk through with a lot of open space. You can spend as much or as little time as you want in each area. This made it easy for us to pass certain sections that we felt were too intense for our kids.
The museum if separated into three main exhibitions. The first is the Historical Exhibition that takes you through the events of the day, hour by hour. It also includes information about “before 911,” and also includes what happened since 911.
The next section is the Memorial Exhibition. This section’s focus are the people. The lives that were lost on 911. There is an entire section with just photographs of those who perished. From ceiling to floor, one photo after the other, cover this section. There is also a touch screen monitor where visitors can look up information about each individual.
The final section is the Foundation Exhibition. This is where structures and other artifacts are displayed. The photo above is the last structure , the “last column,” standing at ground zero. It’s showcased in the museum alongside the, “‘slurry wall,’ a surviving retaining wall of the original World Trade Center that withstood the devastation of 9/11.”
There is so much inside the museum to see. We didn’t spend as much time as we would have if had just been adults, but we still spent about 90 minutes there. That might have been because my daughter lost a tooth inside the museum! Quite the distraction for us.
Get more information about the 911 Memorial Museum here.
The 911 Memorial website has information about how to talk to children about 911 which you might find helpful on a day like today.
September 11th is day that we will never forget. I worked in a newsroom 13 years ago and processed photos for 3 days straight. I remember. My children weren’t born. Now, everyone has an opportunity to see, remember, and learn more about the events of the day.
For us, the 911 Memorial Museum is an opportunity to pay our respects and always remember.