President Obama is in Manhattan this morning for the dedication of the 9/11 Museum, which finally opens to the public next week after years of delay. Among those attending the ceremony: The First Lady, Mayor Bill De Blasio, former mayors Rudy Guiliani and Michael Bloomberg, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Gov. Chris Christie, and the Clintons.
Some object to the $24 admission price for the public, including 9/11 families who have said it makes the museum a “revenue-generating tourist attraction.” (Victims’ families and several other categories of visitors are allowed to see the exhibit for free.) Revenue generated by the museum, which has a projected $60 million annual operating budget, allows the Memorial fountains and plaza to remain free and open to the public, museum officials have said. Meanwhile, the museum, a private, not-for-profit institution, is still fighting for federal funding. Efforts to secure federal funding for the 9/11 museum have been blocked in Congress. The museum directors had hoped to open three years ago, for the 10th anniversary of the attacks, but the project has endured funding disputes, building delays and even a flood caused by Superstorm Sandy. When asked what the most contentious issue has been, museum director Greenwald answered, “Everything.”
The 110,000 square foot museum descends seven stories into the bedrock that once supported the towers. It contains over 10,000 artifacts, 23,000 photos, and more than 500 hours of film.
RELATED: Longtime JMG readers might recall that in 2011 I was solicited by the museum to donate a piece of artwork that I rescued from the front of a Chelsea grammar school during a rainstorm one week after the attack. I’m very curious to see if the piece has made it into the exhibit and if the museum’s curators were able to establish the name of the child who created it.