The 9/11 Tribute Museum, which has served Lower Manhattan for over 15 years, will close for good as of Wednesday, August 17.
The September 11th Families’ Association created and curates the museum — which is separate from the perhaps more well-known National September 11 Memorial Museum near One World Trade Center — and recently shared that visitor numbers just haven’t been the same since COVID-19 hit.
They started a Change.org petition earlier this year, asking New York Governor Kathy Hochul and NYC Mayor Eric Adams to help save the museum. “The 9/11 Tribute Museum, the small, original 9/11 museum that provides Person-to-Person History, connecting visitors to those directly affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, is in imminent danger of closure due to pandemic financial hardship. We need immediate help,” they shared.
Now, it appears to be too late as co-founder and CEO Jennifer Adams said in a press statement that “Financial hardships including lost revenue caused by the pandemic prevents us from generating sufficient funding to continue to operate the physical museum.” NBC News reported that yearly admission rates dropped from 150,000 in 2019 to just 26,000 last year, mostly due to the overall decrease in international tourism.
Most of the physical collection of artifacts, etc. will be carefully moved to the New York State Museum in Albany, while the 9/11 Tribute Museum itself will live on digitally with educational resources on their website here. The guided tours they provided around the neighborhood from survivors and rescue workers will sadly end as well.
The museum was first opened in 2006 by 501(c)3 non profit September 11th Families’ Association, started by FDNY family members left behind after the attack, mostly widows. The association hoped to “unite and support all victims of terrorism through communication, representation and peer support,” and the museum functioned as a “Person to Person History,” with many volunteers being survivors or family members of those lost.