National September 11 Memorial & Museum

National September 11 Memorial & Museum
National September 11 Memorial & Museum

The completed memorial with the museum still under construction.
General information
Status Open (Memorial)
Under Construction (Museum)
Type Memorial & Museum
Location World Trade Center site
(New York City)
Coordinates 40°42′42.1″N 74°0′49.0″W / 40.711694°N 74.01361°W / 40.711694; -74.01361Coordinates: 40°42′42.1″N 74°0′49.0″W / 40.711694°N 74.01361°W / 40.711694; -74.01361
Construction started March 2006
Opening September 12, 2011 (Memorial)[1]
September 11, 2012 (Museum)
Roof The footprints of the Twin Towers will be underground, the museum pavilion will be between 20 or 23 meters.
Design and construction
Architect Michael Arad, Peter Walker and Partners, Davis Brody Bond Snøhetta
Structural engineer WSP Cantor Seinuk
Planned rebuilding of the
World Trade Center
One World Trade Center (Tower 1)
Two World Trade Center (Tower 2)
Three World Trade Center (Tower 3)
Four World Trade Center (Tower 4)
Five World Trade Center (Tower 5)
Seven World Trade Center (Tower 7)
Memorial and museum
National September 11 Memorial & Museum
Transportation Hub

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum (branded as 9/11 Memorial and 9/11 Memorial Museum) is the principal memorial and museum commemorating the September 11 attacks of 2001.[2][3] The memorial is located at the World Trade Center site, on the former location of the Twin Towers destroyed during the attacks. The World Trade Center Memorial Foundation was renamed the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center in 2007.

The winner of the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition was Israeli-American architect Michael Arad of Handel Architects, a New York- and San Francisco-based firm. Arad worked with landscape architecture firm Peter Walker and Partners on the design which calls for a forest of trees with two square pools in the center, where the Twin Towers once stood.[4]

In August 2006, the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey began heavy construction on the memorial and museum.[5] The design is consistent with the original Daniel Libeskind master plan that called for the memorial to be 30 feet below street level (originally 70 feet) in a piazza. The design was the only finalist to throw out Libeskind's requirement that buildings overhang the footprints.

A memorial was planned in the immediate aftermath of the attacks and destruction of the World Trade Center to remember both the victims and those involved in rescue. The National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center is a non-profit corporation with the mission to raise funds for, program, own and operate the memorial and museum at the World Trade Center site. On September 11, 2011, a dedication ceremony was held at the memorial, commemorating the tenth anniversary of the attacks. The memorial officially opened to the public on September 12, 2011, while the museum will open one year later, on or around September 11, 2012.




Formerly the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, Inc., the National September 11 Memorial & Museum was formed as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation to raise funds and manage the planning and construction of the memorial. Its board of directors had its inaugural meeting on January 4, 2005. The National September 11 Memorial & Museum reached its first phase capital fundraising goal of US$350 million in April 2008. This money, along with additional amounts raised, will be used to build the memorial and museum and to create an endowment for the museum.

Design competition

In 2003, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation launched an international competition to design a memorial at the World Trade Center site to commemorate the lives lost in the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Individuals and teams from around the world contributed design proposals.

On November 19, 2003, the thirteen-member jury – which included Maya Lin, designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and deputy mayor Patricia Harris – selected eight finalists. "Reflecting Absence" was chosen as the winning design on January 6, 2004.[6] On January 14, 2004, the final design for the World Trade Center site memorial was revealed in a press conference at Federal Hall in New York.

Mission statement

The non-profit corporation that will manage the memorial states its goals as the following:

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.


The Foundation has fundraising responsibilities because of the tasks assigned to it by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC). The Foundation is to own, operate and finance:

  • National September 11 Memorial, the formal "Reflecting Absence" memorial designed by Michael Arad and Peter Walker.
  • National September 11 Memorial Museum, a museum to tell the story of the events.

John C. Whitehead was chairman of both LMDC and the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation. He announced his resignation in May 2006. Former LMDC President Kevin Rampe will become chairman of the LMDC. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg replaced Whitehead as chairman of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

Thomas S. Johnson, chairman of the foundation's executive committee announced on May 9, 2006:

The decision was made to not actively pursue new fund-raising efforts until complete clarity can be achieved with respect to the design and costs of the project. Cost concerns emerged publicly last week with the disclosure of an estimate by the construction manager, Bovis Lend Lease, that the memorial and museum would cost $672 million and that it would take a total of at least $973 million to fully develop the memorial setting with a cooling plant, roadways, sidewalks, utilities and stabilized foundation walls. An estimate earlier this year put the cost of the memorial and memorial museum at $494 million.[7]

On May 26, 2006, Gretchen Dykstra resigned as president and chief executive officer of the World Trade Center Foundation.[8] The current president and CEO of the Foundation, Joseph C. Daniels, was appointed in October 2006.[9]

The memorial projects were eventually toned down, and the budget was cut to $530 million.[10] Heavy construction for the memorial began in August 2006, and despite delays, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum was still confident that the memorial would be complete by September 11, 2011.[11] The memorial was indeed completed by this date, but the museum will not open until September 2012.


On March 13, 2006, construction workers arrived at the WTC site to commence work on the Reflecting Absence design. On that same day, relatives of the victims and other concerned citizens gathered to protest the new memorial, stating that the memorial should be built above ground. The president of the memorial foundation, however, stated that family members were consulted and formed a consensus in favor of the current design, and that work will continue as planned.[12][13]

In May 2006, it was disclosed that the estimated construction costs for the Memorial had risen to over US$1 billion.[14][dead link]

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the costs of building the Sept. 11 memorial are skyrocketing and must be capped at $500 million.

'There's just not an unlimited amount of money that we can spend on a memorial,' Bloomberg said. Any figure higher than $500 million to build the memorial to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks would be "inappropriate", even if the design has to be changed, he said.'

In 2006, at the request of Governor George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, builder Frank Sciame performed a month-long analysis, which considered input from victims' families, the Lower Manhattan business and residential communities, members of the memorial jury, architects and others. The analysis recommended design changes that kept the memorial and museum within the $500 million budget.

The Empire State Building lit up with blue lights on September 12, 2011, in honor of the opening of the Memorial.

In July 2008, the Survivors' Staircase was lowered to bedrock, marking the first artifact to be moved into the museum. By the end of August 2008, construction on the footings and foundations had been completed. On September 2, 2008, construction workers erected the 7,700-pound first column for the memorial, near the footprint of the north tower.[15] By then, approximately 70 percent of the construction trade contracts had been bid or were ready to award. In total, 9,100 tons of steel were installed at the site for the memorial.[16] By April 2010, the reflecting pools were fully framed in steel, and 85% of the concrete had been poured. By April 22, 2010, workers had begun installation of the granite coating for the reflecting pools. By June 2010, the north pool's granite coating had been fully completed, and workers had begun installation of the granite in the south pool. In July 2010, the first shipments of soil arrived at the memorial site. In August 2010, workers started to plant trees on the memorial plaza. The trees, all swamp white oaks, can reach 60 to 80 feet at maturity, live as long as 300 to 350 years, and are golden-leafed in the fall. The "Survivor Tree" is a callery pear that survived the devastation and was preserved for re-planting.[17] In September 2010, workers reinstalled two tridents from the former twin towers.

In November 2010, workers started testing the north pool's waterfall. Construction progressed significantly through the spring of 2011. In March 2011, the installation of glass panels on the museum pavilion's façade began, and in May 2011, workers started testing the south pool's waterfall. Most of the memorial was finished in time for the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, with the museum slated for completion one year later. By September 2, 2011, more than 242 trees had been planted at the site, while 8 more were planted before the memorial opened. By then, both pools had been completed, and were tested daily to ensure that the waterfalls were working. On September 12, 2011, one day after the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the memorial officially opened to the public. Work continues on the museum, which will be completed by September 2012.

Construction gallery

Withdrawn proposals

Two centers were proposed and withdrawn from the World Trade Center Memorial plan in 2005:

  • The International Freedom Center – a "think tank" which was intended to draw attention to the battles for freedom through the ages. World Trade Center Memorial Foundation member Deborah Burlingame wrote in The Wall Street Journal that the center would have a mission that had nothing to do directly with the events of September 11 and could potentially criticize American policies.[18] Blogs and commentators heavily criticized the center until Governor George Pataki withdrew support for it.
  • The Drawing Center Art Gallery at the World Trade Center – Plans called for the Freedom Center to share its space with the Drawing Center in a building called the "Cultural Center." The Daily News ran a series of articles questioning whether its exhibits would be appropriate at Ground Zero based on the gallery's previous exhibits in its small SoHo quarters.

Other 9/11 memorials


  1. ^ NY1 News (September 12, 2011). "Public Gets First Glimpse Of 9/11 Memorial". Retrieved September 12, 2011. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ The politics of remembering Ground Zero – Haaretz – Israel News
  5. ^ Trade Center Memorial Name Changes, Gets Longer | The New York Observer
  6. ^ National September 11 Memorial & Museum
  7. ^ Dunlap, David W. (May 9, 2006). "9/11 Group Suspends Fund-Raising for Memorial". New York Times. 
  8. ^ "Gretchen Dykstra Resigns As Head Of WTC Memorial Foundation". NY1 News. May 26, 2006. 
  9. ^ "WTC Memorial Foundation Names Joseph C. Daniels as President & CEO of the Foundation". October 31, 2006. 
  10. ^ "9/11 memorial plans scaled down". BBC. June 21, 2006. 
  11. ^ "Sept. 11 memorial head wants to open by 9/11/11". July 1, 2008. [dead link]
  12. ^ Perez, Luis (March 14, 2006). "WTC memorial construction underway". Newsday.,0,7984990.story?coll=ny-top-headlines. [dead link]
  13. ^ Laura Trevelyan (March 13, 2006). "Work commences on 9/11 memorial". BBC. Retrieved May 19, 2010. 
  14. ^ Amy Westfeldt (May 6, 2006). "Sept. 11 Memorial Cost Estimate Rises". London: The Guardian (UK).,,-5800493,00.html. [dead link]
  15. ^ "Steel column for 9/11 memorial rises at Ground Zero". Newsday. Associated Press (Melville, New York: Newsday Inc.). August 17, 2008.,0,6320030.story. 
  16. ^ "Steel Installation Begins for National September 11 Memorial & Museum at WTC Site". Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. September 2, 2008. Retrieved September 17, 2011. 
  17. ^ Sudol, Valerie. "9/11 MEMORIAL TREES STAND TALL". Retrieved September 6, 2011. 
  18. ^ Debra Burlingame (June 8, 2005). "The Great Ground Zero Heist". Wall Street Journal. 

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