One of New York City’s 9/11 museums is closing permanently today, just weeks before the 21st anniversary of the worst terrorist attacks on American soil.
The 9/11 Tribute Museum, located a few blocks south of Ground Zero, is closing after a months-long struggle to recover following the coronavirus pandemic.
The Tribute Museum was known for what it called ‘person-to-person history’. It offered guided tours with “family members, survivors, first responders, and people living in Lower Manhattan,” according to its website.
The other larger museum, the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum located at Ground Zero, will remain open.
The coronavirus pandemic hit the museum particularly hard. The museum relies heavily on assistance for funding, earning most of its income from ticket sales.
“Financial difficulties, including loss of revenue caused by the pandemic, prevent us from generating sufficient funds to continue operating the physical museum,” said Jennifer Adams, the museum’s co-founder and CEO.
Annual admissions were just 26,000 last year, compared to 150,000 in 2019.
More than 5 million people have been to the museum since it opened in 2006.
The museum plans to maintain an online presence, where the stories told through the exhibits can be preserved.
But many are upset that there will no longer be a physical space where survivors can tell their stories.
“It’s a great loss for those people who called this their second home, where they could come and share their story,” Adams told the New York Post.
The physical collections of artifacts will move to the New York State Museum in Albany.
The Museum’s leadership is asking local and state politicians to step in to save the collection.
A circulating change.org petition implores Governor Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams to get involved.
Politicians in New York have promised to help the 9/11 Tribute Museum with its financial problems related to the pandemic. No help has been received,’ the petitioners said in an update two weeks ago.
It currently has some 33,300 signatures.
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