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New September 11 Museum to open despite controversy

Joseph C. Daniels eyes the future of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum
Joseph C. Daniels eyes the future of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum
The New York Times

The National September 11 Memorial Museum is set to open on May 21 after years of controversy and tough negotiations with the families of the victims of 9-11. Ever since the memorial opened visitors have asked when is the museum going to open? After 12 years and many false starts the museum that has been a sensitive subject with countless families of the victims, will open after many false starts. Just as the museum was about to open, it was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy and ever since then speculation has surrounded its opening. For more about the controversial opening visit

"Its location, its financing and its exhibitions have all been the subject of rancorous controversy and relentless negotiations," added today's issue of The New York Times (March 30). "Now, with just weeks to go before its formal opening on May 21, the museum, beneath the World Trade Center plaza, has another potential political and emotional minefield to cross: the opening ceremony."

"Organizers must consider the various expectations and sensitivities of tens of thousands of survivors, victims’ families, police officers, firefighters, rescuers, recovery workers, neighborhood residents and business owners, and an array of former and current political leaders, who, with their special connections to Sept. 11, are all called stakeholders," adds the report. "Who is entitled to visit early? Who deserves to attend the ceremonies? Who gets to speak at the dedication?"

"Unlike the process of planning the museum, which incorporated years of public outreach, discussion and review, the museum’s rollout was organized by a small group of museum staff members who quietly worked to satisfy competing demands while staying true to the museum’s mission," adds The Times.

Unveiling begins on May 15

"The unveiling will begin on May 15 — a week before the museum opens to the public — with a dedication, at bedrock, seven stories below ground, in front of an exposed slab of the World Trade Center’s original slurry wall, a hallmark of the underground museum," adds The Times. "The bedrock observance means there is room for only between 550 and 750 seats, with many set aside for invited officials like President Obama and his predecessors, and New York and New Jersey’s former and current political leaders."

Joseph C. Daniels, president and chief executive of the nonprofit foundation that oversees both the memorial and the museum added to The Times: "a ceremony in the museum, at the center of what doubles as an archaeological excavation, offers a unique opportunity to introduce the institution around the world. Occurring a week before the public opening, this ceremony will inaugurate a six-day dedication period when the museum will be open 24 hours a day only to stakeholders, who can schedule their own visits."

"Plans are still evolving, Mr. Daniels said, but behind the countless details and decisions is a single, driving philosophy: The museum is a repository for every Sept. 11 story," according to The Times.

Mr. Daniels said to The Times: "It was created to recount the full history of the 2001 terrorist attacks, and the opening events reflect this “broader mandate.”

Despite controversy and concerns about the way the museum is being handled, the museum will open on May 21. Staten Island arts fans and those who remember vividly what happened on September 11 may visit to learn about purchasing tickets for the museum.