How the National September 11 Memorial and Museum Works

Paying a Visit to the Memorial and Museum
The Wall of Faces
The Wall of Faces
Rendering by Squared Design Lab

The National September 11 Memorial drew big crowds when it opened to the public on Sept. 12, 2011, following a special dedication ceremony for the families of the victims of 9/11 on the 10th anniversary of the attacks. In order to accommodate the crowds and ensure the safety of visitors, the facilities were highly monitored by law enforcement officials, and all tickets had to be reserved in advance online.

Also for the time being, since several other construction projects are still ongoing at the site of the World Trade Center, visitors can only access the memorial through the 9/11 Memorial Welcome Site. It's located at 1 Albany St., which lies at the intersection of Albany and Greenwich streets.

When they arrive, visitors are drawn to the two large pools, which cover about an acre apiece. There are 2,983 names inscribed along the bronze parapets that ring the four walls of the North and South pools [source: The National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center Foundation, Inc.]. The easiest way to find a particular name is to look it up online before a visit. Those people whose deaths were linked to the World Trade Center North, Flight 11 and the attack on Feb. 26, 1993, are listed at the North Pool. Those whose deaths were linked to the World Trade Center South, the first responders, Flight 175, Flight 77, Flight 93 and the Pentagon encircle the perimeter of the South Pool.

The foundation's Web site provides a comprehensive searchable database, and once you find the name of a person you're looking for, it provides the location of the name on the memorial and some basic biographical information about the person, often including a photo of him or her and links to any requested neighbors among the other names.

The museum officially opened to the public on May 21, 2014. One of the first sights visitors see is the Wall of Faces. Each of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the 2001 (and February 1993) terror attacks is pictured in a mural stretching around the entrance and out of view.

Thousands more photos, personal artifacts and biographical information of the men, women and children who died are on display, and many friends, relatives and colleagues who knew the victims personally have recorded oral remembrances as well. The museum also relates the tale of the twin towers, with wreckage from the debris illustrating these two iconic edifices' narratives from dawn to dusk.

For more information, visit the links below.

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  • "9/11 memorial plans scaled down." BBC. June 21, 2006. (Aug. 11, 2011)
  • Adler, Margot. "Developer: Plans For N.Y. Mosque Moving Forward." NPR. May 5, 2010. (Aug. 11, 2011)
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  • Karni, Annie. "9/11 museum bigs cash in." New York Post. Jan. 23, 2011. (Aug. 11, 2011)
  • Lauinger, John. "Scorched 'survivor tree' rescued from Ground Zero after attacks to get a new home at 9/11 museum." New York Daily News. Sept. 6, 2010. (Aug. 11, 2011)
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