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Honor and Remember: Visiting the National September 11 Memorial & Museum

Honor and Remember: Visiting the National September 11 Memorial & Museum

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum allows visitors to learn about the 9/11 tragedy and pay tribute to its victims and survivors. If you're thinking of visiting the site with your kids, here's what to expect and some tips on how to prepare for the experience.

9/11 memorial north pool

The memorial’s reflecting pools are a powerful reminder of the largest loss of life resulting from a foreign attack on American soil and the greatest single loss of rescue personnel in American history.


Located in Lower Manhattan, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum is a notable destination for families. The memorial opened on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks on the Twin Towers, to commemorate the nearly 3,000 lives lost in the tragedy. The museum, which opened to the public May 21, is an extension of the memorial that allows visitors to learn more about those who were involved with or have been affected by the event.

If you’re hesitant to bring your child to the site, Harold Koplewicz, M.D., founding president of Manhattan’s Child Mind Institute, encourages parents to think of it like the Lincoln Memorial or any other memorial site. “All memorials are an opportunity to discuss historic events,” he says. “But the trip requires some preparation on how to explain it and what to say.” For tips from Dr. Koplewicz on how to discuss 9/11 with kids and prepare them for a visit to the site, go to

ladder 3 fire truck 9/11 museum

Members of FDNY Ladder Company 3 were assigned to aid in the evacuation of civilians in the North Tower on 9/11. All 11 responding members were killed when the tower collapsed at 10:28am. The front cab of this fire truck was shorn off when the North Tower collapsed. The bumper and a door were later removed and displayed as a memorial in Ladder Company 3’s quarters on East 13th Street in Manhattan.


The Memorial

The Memorial Plaza has two reflecting pools, spanning nearly an acre within the “footprints” where the Twin Towers stood. The twin reflecting pools feature the largest manmade waterfalls in North America. The names of the deceased from both the 2001 attack and 1993 bombing are etched in bronze on the panels surrounding the pools.

9/11 historical exhibition

The museum’s Historical Exhibition features a grapper claw, which was used to lift tangled steel and debris from the pile at Ground Zero. “Spotters” worked alongside them, scrutinizing each load for human remains.


The Museum

The 9/11 Memorial Museum includes two main exhibitions. The historical exhibition delves into the background leading up to the terrorist attacks and the repercussions that continue today. It tells the story of what happened on 9/11, among the World Trade Center, Flight 93, and the Pentagon. The memorial exhibition is a tribute to the victims of the attacks of both 1993 and 2001. There are portraits of the men, women, and children who were killed, as well as a quiet chamber that profiles the individuals. You can learn about each victim and the lives they lead, rather than simply about their deaths.

The museum also has an increasing collection of assorted materials that include artifacts, photographs, audio and video tapes, personal memorabilia, items of tribute, recorded testimonies, digital files, and websites that all relate back to the World Trade Center and the terrorist attacks. There is also an archaeological aspect to the museum—it features pieces of the original walls and stairs of the Towers, which were built in the late ’60s.

9/11 museum memorial exhibit

The In Memoriam exhibition honors the 2,977 individuals killed as a result of the terrorist acts of 9/11 at the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and in Somerset County, PA, as well as the six individuals killed in the terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center on Feb. 26, 1993. The exhibit was created with resources contributed by family members and friends of those killed in the attacks. Content was also provided through the Voices of September 11th’s 9/11 Living Memorial project.


Museum Tours

The museum offers a 1-hour guided tour with a staff member, during which visitors examine the museum’s artifacts to gain a better understanding of what happened on 9/11. The tour delves into how people responded after the attacks as well as the history and rebuilding of the World Trade Center. Tours are recommended for adult and teenage visitors and are available daily. To book a tour, visit

For younger visitors, ages 8-11, the Museum Guide for Children enhances the experience of visiting the memorial and museum. Available to download at, the guide helps children understand the history of the World Trade Center, what happened on 9/11, and how the site has been rebuilt. It does not include the museum’s historical exhibition, Sept. 11, 2001, since it may not be fit for visitors ages 10 and younger.

sept 11 survivor stairs

The Vesey Street stairs, or Survivors’ Stairs, once connected the northern edge of the World Trade Center Plaza to the Vesey Street sidewalk below. On Sept. 11, 2001, the stairs and an adjacent escalator provided an unobstructed exit for hundreds seeking to escape.


Annual Memorial Run/Walk

Every April, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum hosts its annual 9/11 Memorial Run/Walk and Family Day. The 5K (3.1-mile) run/walk course takes participants on a historical route that passes through places in the 9/11 story. The race comes to an end near the Memorial Plaza, where Family Day takes place. The day includes entertainment, memorial-themed activities for all ages, food, refreshments, and vendors. Registration is required for the 5K Run/Walk but not for Family Day.

9/11 memorial run walk family day

Whether or not you participate in the 9/11 Memorial Run/Walk in April, you can stop by after the run for Family Day near the Memorial Plaza, where everyone can enjoy food, activities, and entertainment.



Address: 180 Greenwich St. (between Vesey and Liberty streets), Lower Manhattan

Hours: Memorial: 7:30am-9pm daily. Museum: Through Sept. 21: 9am-9pm daily (last entry at 7pm). Sept. 22 through Dec. 31: 9am-7pm daily (last entry at 5pm).

Admission: $24; $18 seniors ages 65 and older, U.S. veterans, and U.S. college students; $15 children ages 7-17; $12 FDNY/NYPD/PAPD with valid ID; free for children ages 6 and younger, 9/11 family members, and 9/11 rescue and recovery workers (with registration). Active/retired U.S. military admitted free with valid ID. Free admission for all visitors on Tuesday evenings, 5pm-close (last entry at 7pm). Museum tickets include access to the 9/11 memorial.

For more information: 212-266-5211 or


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