by Howard Clemens
Thousands of student travel groups have visited the 9-11 Memorial since it opened on September 11, 2011. Now, the 9-11 Museum—tentatively slated to open in September of 2013—promises to offer an even more comprehensive and significant experience for students and teachers.
The 110,000 square foot museum will be housed in the ‘heart’ of the former site of the World Trade Center. It will contain a vast amount of archives and material related to 9-11, as well as to the World Trade Center attack of February 23, 1993. Students will be able to learn about this pivotal point in American and World history in a fully integrated, instructive, and—in many respects—‘hands on’ environment.
Displays of Personal Artifacts Provide a New Perspective for Student Travel Groups
Displays will include personal items and memorabilia found in the aftermath of the attacks, such as clothing and photographs. In the Museum’s oral history collection, students will be able to listen to recorded interviews given by survivors, first responders, witnesses, and the families and loved ones of victims. They will also be able to watch videotapes and view documents and personal emails, many of them donated and provided by the families of those who lost their lives. All of this will be presented in respectful ways that educate and enlighten students of all ages and cultural backgrounds.
The museum will also offer a full digital timeline of the tragedies and the heroism so many demonstrated in response to them, right up to recovery efforts and the construction of the Memorial itself. Some of the larger displays will include FDNY ambulances and fire trucks, as well as beams and other building structures recovered from Ground Zero. Some student travel group leaders may want to schedule detailed, comprehensive guided tours to provide students with an opportunity to ask questions and have them answered. There will also be a gallery showcasing the work of artists addressing the tragedy through a variety of mediums, from music to visual art.
Visiting the 9-11 Museum and the 9-11 Memorial
Over the years, many teachers have attested to how profound the experience of visiting the 9-11 Memorial was for their students. And many students have said that actually being at the site has afforded them a perspective they could not have gotten in a classroom. Despite the tragedy of 9-11, the Memorial is presented in the spirit of hope, so student groups have almost always described their experience there as being as life-changing and enlightening. A trip to the corresponding museum will surely be a way to enhance that experience, and bring it full circle.
Though it has only been open for a little over a year, the 9-11 Memorial is now one of the most visited sites in the world. Student groups have come from across the United States and beyond to understand what happened that day. The tragedy affected people on a personal and international scale. In the words of Joe Daniels, the 9-11 Foundation president, “The museum will be a place for education and inspiration” that will “commemorate the lives lost, preserve the history of what happened that terrible day, and tell the stories of courage and compassion that were so much a part of the response to 9/11.”
Teachers wanting to give their students a full portrait of the historic significance of 9-11 should consider including a trip to the Memorial and Museum in any NYC-based student travel trip planned for the coming year. To synchronize the opening of the Museum with student travel dates, find updates here on the Memorial and Museum website.
To learn more about student trips to New York City, visit http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com.