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How the National September 11 Memorial & Museum Works


This illustration shows how the memorial pools will look once complete, with the names of the victims etched in bronze around each perimeter.
This illustration shows how the memorial pools will look once complete, with the names of the victims etched in bronze around each perimeter.
Rendering by Squared Design Lab

The New York City skyline will never again present the iconic contours it showed as the sun set on Sept. 10, 2001. But many years later, it's a far cry from how it appeared after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11.

Half of the 16 acres surrounding where the twin towers and other buildings of the World Trade Center stood are being redeveloped as a business and commercial center. The other 8 acres now house a memorial and museum. The National September 11 Memorial & Museum honors those who died on 9/11 and in the 1993 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, when thousands were injured and six were killed after a bomb exploded in a parking garage. Among the 9/11 victims being honored are those who died as a result of the collapse, including the fallen first responders and those who perished on the four hijacked flights.

The Sept. 11 memorial consists of two square pools that sink into the footprints of the former twin towers. Water cascades down the walls of each reflecting pool, streaming over the rims of the central chasms and vanishing into the depths below. Between them lies the aboveground portion of the museum, which houses exhibits demonstrating the tragic and heroic events that happened hand in hand on 9/11.

On the next page, we'll dig deeper into the design elements and construction efforts that went into erecting the memorial and museum.


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