The newly-completed 9/11 museum will be open to the public for 24 hours until May 20. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attended the museum dedication ceremony. The composition of talks, pictures, songs, and videos brought tears to the eyes of many during the museum’s first ceremony. Many more sobering moments have been experienced by first time visitors to the 9/11 museum — including family members of victims and residents present on the day of the attack.
For 13 years recovery efforts have been put towards design and reconstruction for all aspects of the twin towers. The Freedom Tower has been erected, the reflection pool is engraved with the names of victims of 9/11, and now the museum completes this 13 year process. For some it brings closure. For others it re-opens the wounds.
Charles G. Wolf, whose wife Katherine worked on the 97th floor of Tower One, explained his own feelings toward the museum exhibits. “It’s just amazing what you see down there. Absolutely amazing. And at the same time it’s very very personal, extremely personal… Someone like me has waves of emotion that come over me… You never know when it is going to hit you.”
The museum exhibits range from architectural pieces of the fallen towers to personal items. Voice recordings from those calling home or relatives speaking about loved ones are on public display: a partially crumpled fire truck; wallets now owner-less; a bloody high heel shoe; missing person photos.
Dr. JoAnn Difede, director of the Program for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Studies at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, commented that, “There’s not a uniform psychological impact of the museum or even the location. The museum is a memorial to those who passed away as well as the ones who survived and are still struggling today… Reviewing artifacts, pictures, items from that time allow people to emotionally process the event further and integrate a memory and move on with their lives.”
The museum will educate about the history of the Twin Towers as well as provide information to personalize the attack of 9/11. The museum will also display media coverage from during 9/11 and it’s aftermath. Little to no focus will be given to the war prompted by the 9/11 attack or the terrorist group behind it. The museum’s intention is to remember the lives of those who died on that day and the countless others affected by the trauma of 9/11.