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National September 11 Memorial Museum set to open May 21 on WTC site

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The group dedicated to preserving the memory of those killed in the attacks of September 11, 2001 announced on Monday that the National September 11 Memorial Museum will open to the public on May 21.

According to 911Memorial.org, the museum aims to "serve as the country’s principal institution for examining the implications of the events of 9/11, documenting the impact of those events and exploring the continuing significance of September 11, 2001."

The museum is located on the site of the World Trade Center, in between the square reflecting pools of the National September 11 Memorial that now lie where the towers once stood. It is said to feature both an exhibition paying tribute to those killed in the attacks (as well as the 1993 bombing that left six people dead) and a multimedia exhibition featuring photographs, audio, video, and testimonials. That exhibit will take a more historical approach and cover lead-up and aftermath of the attacks.

"When the museum opens to the public on May 21, millions will come to further understand the experiences, courageous actions, and terrible losses that we saw on 9/11 and in the aftermath," 9/11 Memorial President Joe Daniels said. "The museum will forever remind us of the capacity we have to come together when the times require."

Also located within the museum will be the remains of those who were unidentified following rescue efforts. Though they are technically not part of the museum and will be off-limits to visitors, they will be housed behind a wall bearing an inscription of the poet Virgil's words "No day shall erase you from the memory of time." Only medical examiners and victims' families will be allowed in the repository. DNA examinations will reportedly continue there.

Responding to criticism over the decision to keep the remains at the museum, 9/11 Tribute Center President Lee Ielpi, who lost his son that day, said "we have to treat them with as much dignity and respect (as) they deserve," adding that "now is the time to bring those remains back to where they have been murdered."

Tickets for the museum will go on sale starting Wednesday and will cost $24. New York 1 notes that admission will be free of charge on Tuesday evenings. Family members of victims as well as first responders who are registered with the 9/11 Memorial will always be admitted for free.

For five days prior to the official opening, the museum will have a dedication period in which victims' families, first responders, rescue workers, and the residents and business owners of Lower Manhattan will get exclusive access to the museum. During this period, the museum will be open for 24 hours a day to give people the chance to visit when convenient and acknowledge the sacrifice made by responders who worked around the clock following the attacks.

The museum is also offering a 10 percent discount on membership until April 1.

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