At Sept. 11 museum, candle-filled shrines and World Trade Center steel portray post-9/11 NYC

By Amy Westfeldt, AP
Thursday, April 8, 2010

9/11 museum to re-create the post-attack landscape

NEW YORK — The shrines of candles and flowers and the broken pieces of steel standing at ground zero became iconic images of post-Sept. 11 New York in the weeks after the terrorist attack.

Visitors to the planned memorial museum will see recreations of the vigils and makeshift memorials that sprang up around the city and the eight-month cleanup of the destroyed World Trade Center in exhibits focusing on New Yorkers’ post-9/11 experience.

New renderings obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday show a woman paying respects over dozens of candles, flowers, teddy bears and a construction worker’s helmet. The homemade shrines covered the city in the weeks after the attacks, particularly at Manhattan’s Union Square, where relatives came with pictures of their missing loved ones.

Another exhibit focusing on the cleanup of the trade center site by thousands of ground zero workers will project images of workers at the site onto huge remnants of steel from the destroyed twin towers.

A centerpiece of one exhibit will be a three-pronged trident column from a trade center tower rising out of a pile of recovered steel, with an image of the same column projected onto it. A recording of recovery workers talking about the desperate search for survivors and recovery of remains will be heard over the exhibit.

The exhibits will be enhanced with the recorded testimony of witnesses from around the globe, captured in real time by cell phone messages, radio transmissions and video, and in recorded interviews with rescue workers, evacuees and others within minutes of the collapse, Museum Director Alice Greenwald said Thursday.

Visitors will pass through a “Where were you on 9/11?” gallery, where a choreographed multimedia program will offer recorded recollections of what people across the world were doing and how they learned of the 2001 terrorist attack through a choreographed multimedia program.

At the end of that interpretive journey, visitors will be able to record their own stories on where they were on that fateful day, and those will be added to the exhibit.

Listening stations will allow visitors to hear personal stories from volunteers and survivors, as well as from individuals whose homes and businesses were inundated with the debris and dust from the collapsed towers.

And a series of panels will pose open-ended questions on how the experience of the terrorist attacks continues to shape the world.

Museum officials presented the latest exhibits for the museum — slated to open in 2012 — at a Thursday meeting of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp.

The exhibits “will chronicle not only the shared witness to the horrific events of Sept. 11, but the extraordinary compassion and dedication that were demonstrated time and again during the days, weeks and months following the horrific attacks,” Greenwald said.

The museum has a $45 million budget for the exhibitions, planning and design, according to the 9/11 Memorial’s exhibition summary. The downtown rebuilding agency gave $2.2 million to help fund the exhibits.

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