My sisters, my mom, my cousin and I drove into NYC today to visit the 9/11 Museum and Memorial.
First, to cover the basics involved, adult tickets were $24 and you need to choose a time to enter. The building for the museum is between the two memorial pools for the towers. There are lines outside for the timed entry tickets and a line for walk up tickets. Upon entering, you go through airport like security. There is an option to purchase tickets for a guided tour and there is a phone app that you can download for free that has an audio guide. We chose to walk around on our own.
As you enter, you go down an escalator to where the exhibit begins. There is a plaque on the wall with an overview of the events of that day and as you walk further there were slides of pictures of people from that day as well as audio of everyday people talking about where they were on 9/11. You then come to a landing that overlooks a large area that has a few remaining walls and the last beam that was standing.
You go further and walk along the “survivors stairs.” There is a photo of people that were able to make their way out of the building using that staircase. What remains of the stairs are shown and you can walk right alongside them down to the main exhibit hall.
In the large area, there were displays of some of the larger remains from that day, including a fire truck and a piece of the antennae from the top of one of the buildings. There was steel beam from the South tower that was bent completely backwards and in half.
Within this large area is a door that leads inside to the main exhibit. Honestly, I almost missed this. I had walked around all of the large area and thought that was it. I saw the door to the main exhibit and decided to go look in there. It’s a good thing that I did because that was really the more detailed exhibit.
There were no photos allowed as you walked through this area. There was a lot to see and take in. It was starting to get crowded at this point and you really couldn’t see and read everything in there. It was a bit overwhelming but yet well done. (On a side note, I was walking around separate from the rest of my group. The flow of the exhibit was a little confusing and they ended up not seeing the last few sections because they didn’t see which way to get to them.)
You walked through the events in the order they happened but there was a lot of detail about each part. There were videos showing footage as well as clips of shows like the Today show as they were interrupted and starting to report on what was going on. On the walls all around were quotes from different sources, including government officials and first responders. There were pieces of items that were recovered from the site and personal items from some of those that were lost there.
One of the most chilling things to listen to was a loop of various answering machine messages from people that were calling their loved ones while they were inside the building. For example, one message was from a husband to his wife saying that a plane had hit the North tower but he was secure in South tower and would be staying there while they get the situation under control.
After all of the exhibits about the day’s events there was an exhibit about what happened in the days, weeks and months afterwards. There were photos of memorials and vigils that took place. There was also a section about the terrorists that were involved. I found it very creepy to watch the actual surveillance video of several of them going through airport security that day.
The exhibit ended with asking what we can take away from the tragedy that occurred on 9/11. There was a wall that listed the range of emotions that it can bring up from sadness and fear to resilience and strength. There was also an area that contained recording booths. Anyone is welcome to make a recording about their thoughts and feelings to be kept there.
There was also a separate “in memoriam” area that contained video monitors where you can look up individuals that died that day. My sisters looked up a family friend of my sister-in-law, Kelly, who was on board the first plane. They said there was a lot of information about her and photos. They felt it was a very nice display representing her.
After exiting the building, we walked around the memorial pools and took some photos. The phone app allowed us to look up specific names and find the panels with the name on it. We were able to find Kelly’s name there.
Overall, it was a very well done display and exhibit. It is really a lot to take in and I don’t think it really possible to see everything that is there in one visit. I was glad to see that even though it was quite crowded, everyone that I saw was respectful. While obviously it is a somber subject, it is worth the time to visit there.
I have been a huge Disney and travel fan since childhood. I love going to new places and, of course, heading to Disney as often as I can.