The National Sept 11 Memorial and Museum commemorates the nearly 3,000 lives tragically lost on September 11, 2001. It is part of the new World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan, taking up half of the 16-acre World Trade Center site.
The Memorial opened to families of the victims on September 11, 2011, the 10th anniversary of the attack, and to the general public on the following day. The Museum opened in May 2014.
1 WTC, the tallest of the new World Trade Center buildings is pictured here under construction, towering high above the Sept 11 Memorial.
Design: “Reflecting Absence”
The design for the memorial, created by architect Michael Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker and Partners, was selected from over 5,200 entries as part of an international design competition.
Two enormous reflecting pools are situated where the former Twin Towers once stood. Cascading waterfalls line the perimeter of each pool. The large voids created by the recessed pools remind of the absence of the buildings that once stood and the loss of many lives.
The tree-filled Memorial Plaza surrounds the pools and is a peaceful place to walk or sit. The sound from the waterfalls drowns out city noise.
The names of the people killed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing are stencil-cut in bronze panels around the edges of the pools. The openings created by the names allow for impressions to be made, flowers and flags to be placed, and light to shine through at night.
Surviving colleagues and the victims’ families were able to make requests that specific names be placed together, something unique to this memorial. The National 9/11 Memorial website has more information on finding a name on the memorial.
Sept 11 Memorial Museum
The 9/11 Memorial Museum opened in May 2014. The focus of the museum is on telling the 9/11 story, including the events of September 11, 2001, the rescue and recovery effort that took place in the aftermath, and examining the implications of those events.
The museum’s collection includes photos, artifacts, personal effects, and profiles of those who died. It also displays remnants of the former World Trade Center, including a piece of the “Survivors’ Stairs,” by which hundreds of people were able to escape.
The National Sept 11 Memorial is beautiful any time of the day, but will really take your breath away at night. As darkness falls over the city, the waterfalls become illuminated and light shines up through the openings created by the names. The skyscrapers surrounding the memorial light up in the darkness.
Essential Visitor Information
The 9/11 Memorial is is free and no passes are required. It is open daily from 8:30 am to 8:30 pm.
Tickets are required for the 9/11 Museum and can be purchased online in advance. It is open from 9 am – 8 pm in the summer and 9 am – 7 pm in the fall/winter.
The Sept 11 Memorial and Museum are located in Lower Manhattan, an area best accessed using public transportation. The Subway, Bus, and PATH trains all stop near the Memorial. Click here for more information on location and transportation options.
Official Website: 911memorial.org