About three blocks from the former site of the World Trade Centers sits the 30,000-square-foot 9/11 Tribute Museum. Not to be confused with the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in Lower Manhattan, where the twin towers stood, the museum has been visited by five million people since it opened in 2006.
Now, after two years of COVID restrictions, the museum is being forced to close.
The facility was mostly dependent on admission fees for its operating budget. Unlike the 9/11 Memorial and Museum that was generously endowed by wealthy New Yorkers and corporations, the Tribute museum was in a constant battle to keep its doors open.
Now, sadly, their efforts have been in vain.
“Two-thirds of our income revenue annually comes from our earned income from admissions,” Jennifer Adams-Webb, co-founder of the museum and the CEO of the September 11th Families’ Association, told The New York Post. “We were completely closed for six months in 2020. We had been averaging 300,000 visitors a year… and last year we had a total of 26,000 visitors, so it completely annihilated our earned income.”
A destination for education and for community support among survivors and family members of those who died on 9/11, the museum moved to its 92 Greenwich St. location in 2017. The first six months of 2022 saw roughly the same number of visitors as the entirety of 2021, but outstanding capital debt combined with still-low visitation required a difficult decision to be reached.
“There’s no way we’re going to be able to dig out of this at this rate,” said Adams-Webb. “We need the state or the city to step in with other partners to be able to say, ‘We value you. We want to save this organization,’ but at this point, we can’t continue to dig into a hole.”
Meanwhile, the state of New York just handed $1 billion over to the NFL’s Buffalo Bills.
This cannot stand.
The State handed $1B+ over to the billionaire owners of the Buffalo Bills — they have to stop this.#priorities
NYC's 9/11 Tribute Museum to close: 'It's a huge loss' NYC's 9/11 Tribute Museum to close: 'It's a huge loss' https://t.co/igbTDoirna
— Melissa DeRosa (@melissadderosa) August 17, 2022
I’ve never been to either the 9/11 Memorial and Museum or the 9/11 Tribute Museum but the experience is said to be entirely different at the Tribute museum. Visitors say it’s an intensely personal experience as people share their stories of what happened to them on that tragic day.
“The visitors just aren’t back,” she said, saying the only way the museum would have been able to stay open was with government support. It had been unable to secure that, despite months of conversations with the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and other offices, she said. The Department of Cultural Affairs did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
The main difference between the tribute museum and the larger, nearby 9/11 Memorial & Museum at Ground Zero was her program’s focus on first-hand stories from people who were directly affected, Adams said.
Compared to the “approved” museum, the Tribute Museum operates on a string. The fact that the state government and/or the city of New York couldn’t find a few million dollars a year to keep the memories of that day alive — instead of the approved politically-correct narrative — is outrageous.