Tuesday, September 22, 2015

9/11 Memorial Museum

This was the first thing you'd see after descending into the museum. Lots of visuals projected on the walls & you could hear all these voices recalling what they saw during 9/11.

Majority of the space is basically a huge ramp leading you into the exhibition (which we couldn't take photos of). It also led you all around, allowing you to view a lot of the bigger artifacts and items referencing the contents of the main exhibit. 

The actual wall remaining from one of the towers used as a structural feature in the museum. 

Section of a steel facade, North Tower, floors 96-99
This was located at the point of impact where hijacked Flight 11 pierced the building at the 93rd to the 99th floors. 

A bit too eerie for my taste. I can't imagine having to put up one of these "missing person" posters. I almost cried at this point. 

"No day shall erase you from the memory of time."

That wall is a mosaic of shades of blue they asked artists to paint, recalling the color the sky was on that day. 

Vesey Street stair remnant "The Survivors' Stairs"

The stairs and an adjacent escalator provided an unbostructed exit for hundreds seeking to escape. To reach the stairs, many had to cross the Plaza beneath the treacherous debris falling from the North Tower. 

North Tower communications antenna, 1998

A massive antenna on the roof of the North Tower distinguished the building from its twin. 

View museum map [HERE].

Our class had to visit this museum among many others. For my thesis year I've decided to take up Exhibition Design. Our professor warned us that it was going to be a bit troubling- that we needed to distance ourself from the emotional aspect of the exhibition and focus on the design. He said there were tissues everywhere and that alone indicated that it was made to make you feel the tragedy and really understand why this event gained worldwide attention. 

The photos above are mainly of the whole ramp/perimeter enveloping the small exhibition located in the middle/bottom of the space. We couldn't take photos of the exhibition itself, which makes me want to convince everyone to experience it even more. The photo of the fire truck was the last thing I saw before being led to the main exhibition. I felt like those displayed before made me gauge whether or not I was ready to be immersed in the 9/11 exhibtion. Some of my classmates chose not to go on- it really isn't for everyone. I knew I kept telling myself not to get too emotional but  a few minutes after entering the main exhibition my heart already felt too heavy. 

Firstly, hearing all these voices recalling the events and the actual recordings of people calling loved ones about the planes crashing just really strikes you hard. You can't help but empathize with these people- the recordings just transports you to that day. The space is arranged in a confusing way (probably intentional), but you'll eventually figure out that electronic media and chronological accounts are placed on the walls and artifacts are displayed in the middle. With no signage in site, this acts as a wayfinding tool. There are also rooms within rooms, which I thought were "breathing spaces" or respite spaces when tears started flowing down my eyes, but they are actually viewing rooms with more graphic content. I went in and exited right a away. What really hit me hard was seeing all the uniforms, tools, photos and videos of all the firefighters. All I could think about was my husband (he is a firefighter and a nurse)!!! I really can't imagine having to suffer the same grief as those people who lost family members trying to save others from the twin towers. I went inside the doors alone but halfway through it I needed to find a classmate so I would calm down. I avoided listening to all the audio and viewing the videos on all the monitors. Thankfully the next part was a break from the September 11 event and featured the twin towers sort as an American icon. This part was also bright and comforting just so you'd feel the emotional weight from the first part of the exhibition get out of your system. You are then taken to a hall that explains the Al Qaeda/the perpetrators. The final part was more optimistic and portrayed New York City and its people recovering as the years go by. 

If you're ever in New York this would be a great exhibit to see. It's a lot different compared to all the art exhibits around the city but it's worth lining up for. Just be prepared to see some graphic/violent scenes. The whole museum can be interpreted in many ways and its design is a bit confusing- just take what you can from the experience! 

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