Located on the former site of the World Trade Center, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum (most commonly known simply as the 9/11 Memorial & Museum) is dedicated to preserving the memory of those who died on that terrible day and fostering healing for those who lost loved ones in the attacks. It houses an assortment of historical artifacts and educational exhibits that seek to deepen our understanding of 9/11 and its worldwide impact.
History of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum
In the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center, plans were made to construct a memorial to honor the approximately 3,000 people who died. A competition was held to solicit ideas for the design of this memorial, and in 2004 the final proposal was unveiled. As time passed, its design underwent some changes, but ultimately the 9/11 Memorial was opened to the public during commemorations of the 10th anniversary of the event. The Museum portion of the site was opened in 2014.
In the years since its completion, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum has hosted millions and millions of visitors. With its massive collection of images, artifacts, videos, oral histories, and more, it has become a place of powerful reflection, contemplation, and remembrance.
What’s at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum
There is much to take in at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. The Memorial itself is an 8-acre site comprised of several different components. Anchoring the Memorial are two 1-acre pools of water—one set in the footprint of the North Tower, the other in the footprint of the South Tower. These pools feature two manmade waterfalls—one with a 30-foot drop, the other with a 20-foot drop—the largest such structures in the world. The names of the 2,983 victims are inscribed around the perimeter of these two pools.
Some 400 swamp oak trees surround the two pools. This particular species of tree was selected for the memorial site because it’s indigenous to Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York City (the three different 9/11 attack sites). Of special note nearby is a single, solitary Callery pear tree. Known as the “Survivor Tree,” it was damaged on 9/11 but lives on today as a powerful reminder of New York City’s resilience.
Another aspect of the Memorial Plaza is the 9/11 Memorial Glade. It honors the brave rescue workers who risked everything in the wake of the attacks striving to find, save, and recover as many people as possible. Many of these individuals were injured, became sick, and/or died as a result of the toxins and debris to which they were exposed.
The 9/11 Museum covers all aspects of the World Trade Center experience: its architecture, history, destruction, and afterlife as a site of remembrance and healing. Containing over 100,000 square feet of exhibit space, the 9/11 Museum houses an evocative collection of materials pertaining to that horrid day and beyond. Its permanent exhibitions are home to physical artifacts, video testimonies, various artworks, and a great deal more. There are also frequent temporary exhibits, special events, and educational programs staged here.
Tips for Visiting the 9/11 Memorial & Museum
- The 9/11 Memorial & Museum is included on several money saving tourist passes including the New York Pass, NY Explorer Pass, New York Sightseeing Pass and New York CityPASS.
- Visitors to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum have several different ticket options to choose from. Basic museum admission runs $26 for adults, $20 for teens and seniors, and $15 for children ages 6 through 12. For $20 more per person, you can combine admission to the Museum with a 60-minute guided tour. The Memorial component of the site is always free to the public.
- On Mondays between the hours of 3:30pm and 5:00pm, the 9/11 Museum offers free admission to all visitors. These complimentary tickets must be procured online ahead of time. Each Monday’s tickets become available that day at 7:00am EST, and are first come, first served.
- If you don’t have the time or money to take a guided tour of the 9/11 Museum, consider downloading the 9/11 Audio Guide. It’s free, and a bit shorter than the usual guided group tour, and it’ll still provide you with tremendous insight into the site.
- Many visitors to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum feel compelled to bring some sort of tribute with them to leave behind at the Memorial Plaza. This is permitted, but please note that the size of such items is limited to 19 inches by 17 inches by 8 inches.