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National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center, formerly the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, is a 503(c)(3) non-profit corporation that began operations in 2005. The foundation’s name was changed in 2007 to better reflect the national scope of the September 11th attacks. Its mission is to construct, program, own and operate the Memorial and Museum at Ground Zero planned by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), a city-state organization established after September 11th to direct the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan. It is estimated that five million people will visit the memorial annually, making it one of America’s most visited historical sites. It will be located at the World Trade Center site to commemorate the attacks on September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993 (1993 World Trade Center bombing).

National September 11 Memorial

The Memorial Design

In January 2004, the design, Reflecting Absence, by architect Michael Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker was selected as the winner of the LMDC's design competition that had 5,201 entrants from 63 nations.

Two pools with the largest manmade waterfalls in the United States cascading down their sides will be located within the footprints of the Twin Towers. Each pool will be one square acre, and together they are intended to symbolize the loss of life and the physical void left by the terrorist attacks. The sound of the water falling is supposed to drown out the sounds of the city, making the site a contemplative sanctuary. Almost 400 Sweet Gum and Swamp White Oak trees will fill the remaining of the Memorial Plaza, furthering the reflective nature of the site.

Arrangement of the Names of Victims

The names of the 2,981 who were killed in the September 11th attacks in New York City, Washington, DC,and Pennsylvania and the names of the 6 victims killed in the February 1993 World Trade Center bombing will be inscribed around the edges of the Memorial pools. The names of the victims who were in Tower 1 and on Flight 11, which hit Tower 1, will be located around the perimeter of the North Pool. The names surrounding the South Pool will include: those killed in Tower 2, the victims on Flight 175, which hit Tower 2, the victims who were in the immediate vicinity of the Towers, the first responders, the passengers on Flight 93, which crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, the passengers on Flight 77, which hit the Pentagon, those killed at Pentagon, and the victims of the February 26, 1993 World Trade Center bombing. It was decided that the names of companies would not be included; however, company employees and their visitors will be listed together. Passengers of the four flights will be listed together under their flight numbers, and first responders will be listed together with their units.

Memorial Museum

The Museum Design

Designed by Davis Brody Bond, LLP, the museum will be located approximately below ground, and will be accessed through an entry pavilion designed by Snøhetta. Two of the original tridents from the Twin Towers will be located in this pavilion. One of the walls of the underground museum will be an exposed side of the slurry wall, which is the retaining wall that holds back the Hudson River and that had remained un-breached during and after September 11th.

National September 11 Museum Mission

"The National September 11 Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center will bear solemn witness to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and February 26, 1993. The Museum will honor the 2,981 victims of these attacks and all those who risked their lives to save others. It will further recognize the thousands who survived and all who demonstrated extraordinary compassion in the aftermath. Demonstrating the consequences of terrorism on individual lives and its impact on communities at the local, national, and international levels, the Museum will attest to the triumph of human dignity over human depravity and affirm an unwavering commitment to the fundamental value of human life.

Collection and Exhibits

The National September 11 Museum will house a digital resource center, artifacts recovered from the site, and victims’ and survivors’ personal effects that either were collected during the recovery effort after September 11, 2001 or were donated by survivors or victims’ families. Narrative and interactive exhibitions will be designed to educate visitors about the terrorist attacks that occurred on February 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001, in terms of their events, contexts, and consequences. Exhibits and educational programming will communicate the stories of the victims, responders, witnesses, and survivors through various media.


The Memorial Mission

  • "Remember and honor the thousands of innocent men, women, and children murdered by terrorists in the horrific attacks of February 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001.
  • Respect this place made sacred through tragic loss.
  • Recognize the endurance of those who survived, the courage of those who risked their lives to save others, and the compassion of all who supported us in our darkest hours.
  • May the lives remembered, the deeds recognized, and the spirit reawakened be eternal beacons, which reaffirm respect for life, strengthen our resolve to preserve freedom, and inspire an end to hatred, ignorance and intolerance.”

Board of Directors

Since 2006, the chairman of the National September 11 Museum & Memorial has been New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has personally given over $15 million toward the project. The National September 11 Museum & Memorial is governed by the following board members: David Beamer, Paula Grant-Berry, Debra Burlingame, John P. Cahill, Russell L. Carson, Kenneth I. Chenault, Keating Crown, Billy Crystal, Robert De Niro, Samuel A. DiPiazza, Jr., Christine A. Ferer, Maurice R. Greenberg, Vartan Gregorian, Patricia Harris, William B. Harrison, Jr., Gerald Hassell, Robert Iger, Lee A. Ielpi, Monica Iken, Robert Wood Johnson, Thomas S. Johnson, Robert Kasdin, Anthoula Katsimatides, Peter M. Lehrer, Howard W. Lutnick, Julie Menin, Ira M. Millstein, Howard Milstein, Peter G. Peterson, Emily K. Rafferty, Kevin M. Rampe, David Rockefeller, Judith Rodin, Thomas H. Rogér, Jane Rosenthal, E. John Rosenwald, Jr., Avi Schick, Andrew M. Senchak, Jerry Speyer, Anne M. Tatlock, Daniel R. Tishman, Seth Waugh, John C. Whitehead, and John Zuccotti.

Staff Members

The President and CEO of the Memorial & Museum is Joseph C. Daniels, who was appointed in 2006. Alice M. Greenwald is the Memorial Museum Director and Executive Vice President for Programs. Other Senior Staff members are: Frank Aiello (General Counsel), Allison Bailey (Senior Advisor, Strategy & Operations), Cathy Blaney (Executive Vice President, Development), Suany Chough (Senior Advisor, Design, Construction & Planning), Joan Gerner (Executive Vice President of Design Construction and Capital Planning), David Langford (Vice President, Finance & Administration), Lou Mendes (Vice President, Design & Construction), and Lynn Rasic (Vice President, Public Affairs & Communications).

Construction of the World Trade Center Site

Due to the complexities of the design plans for the entire 16 acre World Trade Center site and rising construction costs, major delays in the rebuilding of the site have occurred. The memorial is slated to be open for the 10th anniversary of the attacks; however, the museum will open at a later date. Many are advocating for the completion of the memorial to be made the first priority in the construction effort so that it can open on time. The famous Vesey Street Stairs, also known as the Survivors' Staircase, which will be permanently housed in the museum, was moved in July 2008 from where it had been located to the other side of the site in order to protect it from the ongoing construction and to place the artifact in the Memorial Museum.

National Tour

In September 2007, the Memorial & Museum launched a four-month national awareness tour that stopped at 25 cities in 25 states where thousands participated in the tour’s activities. The tour began at Finlay Park in Columbia, South Carolina and ended at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida. Highlights from the tour included: an exhibition of photographs, artifacts from the site and a short film featuring firsthand accounts from individuals who had experienced 9/11 directly. At the opening ceremony in South Carolina, White Knoll Middle School’s students, who raised more than half a million dollars in 2001 to buy a new truck for New York City's Fire Department, were honored. Also at the ceremony, retired New York City Police Officer Marcelo Pevida presented the City of Columbia with an American flag that had flown over Ground Zero.

Signing of a Construction Beam

As the main attraction of the 2007 National Tour, steel beams that are to be used in the construction of the memorial was made available to visitors who wanted to sign their names onto it.


The budget for the Memorial and Museum project, funded by private and public funds, is $530 million, with an additional $80 million grant from New York State for the construction of the museum pavilion. Of the $530 million, $350 million has been raised by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum through private donations.

Cobblestone Campaign

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum began a donation campaign where a contributor can sponsor a cobblestone or paver that will line the Memorial Plaza. Once the Memorial is completed, a donor will be able to locate his/her cobblestone or paver by entering his/her name at a kiosk on the Memorial Plaza.

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