One of New York’s 9/11 museums is closing for good 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 from 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 major museum, the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum located at Ground Zero, will remain open.
The coronavirus pandemic has particularly affected the museum. The museum relies heavily on attendance for its funding, deriving most of its revenue from ticket sales.
“Financial difficulties, including the loss of revenue caused by the pandemic, prevent us from generating sufficient funding to continue operating the physical museum,” said Jennifer Adams, co-founder and CEO of the museum.
Annual admissions were just 26,000 last year, down from 150,000 in 2019.
More than 5 million people have visited 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 a physical space where survivors could tell their stories will no longer be.
“It’s a huge loss for these people who called this their second home, where they could come and share their story,” Adams told the New York Post.
Physical collections of artifacts will be transferred to the New York State Museum in Albany.
Museum management is asking local and state politicians to intervene to save the collection.
A petition circulating on change.org implores Governor Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams to get involved.
“New York politicians have promised to help the 9/11 Tribute Museum with its financial problems related to the pandemic. No help has been forthcoming,’ the petitioners said in an update two weeks ago.
It currently has around 33,300 signatures.
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