If you travel to New York City, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum is a worthwhile stop on your itinerary. They have done a solid job of presenting and memorializing the events. If you have memories of the news coverage of the twin towers falling, the displays and videos in this museum will cause reflection. And if you were too young to remember this horrific day (like our kids), you will have a new appreciation for both the terror and heroism of the people who were living in NYC.
Note that the images and videos in this museum are not appropriate for most younger kids, so use your best judgement on whether you simply view the exterior memorial fountains at the One World Trade Center, or get tickets to tour the entire museum. In our opinion, high school and middle school kids should be fine, but it may be worth deferring for elementary school kids.
Destination: 9/11 Memorial & Museum
Location: 180 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10007
Public Transportation: See the museum website for the best options
Tours: Several tour options are also available.
If you are traveling with young kids, or simply don’t have time to see the entire museum, you should at least stop by the One World Trade Center and see the 9/11 Memorial Pools. They are built over the footprints of the North and South Towers and have lists of names of people who died.
If you saw the news coverage at the time of the attack, or visited the site shortly after the attack, it will look completely different. In the place of the twin towers, you will now see the gleaming One World Trade Center, currently the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Its beauty will make you admire America’s strength and resilience in the face of difficulty. What some people meant for evil, is now a strong reminder of how Americans come together in difficulty, help each other, and build something better out of the ruins.
If you have the time to dive deeper into the memories of the 9/11 attack, reserve tickets to see the museum. Since, on this particular trip to New York, we were traveling with teens who had heard about the attacks, but had not experience anything more related to this day, we made this museum a stop on our trip to New York.
As you enter, you will be confronted with the remains of the twin towers. Note that the museum itself is in the old WTC basement area. Take time to think about what kind of force it would take to bend steel beams like this and feel the horror of what it would have been to be running down the stairs in this building as these beams are bending.
Next, you will be confronted with the courage of the firemen who willingly entered these collapsing buildings in order to save as many lives as possible.
Continuing through the museum, you will find timelines, videos, and photos that hold poignant memories of the day. Take your time and reflect on the senselessness of this attack, the great loss of life, and the courage of the people who lived through this day and went on to search for bodies in hazardous conditions to give families closure and otherwise clean up the mess and make the area safe again for the people who live and work nearby.
Many of the parts of the museum downstairs explicitly prohibited photography (the photos above were allowed), so there’s only so much that we can post here.
But overall, they did a very good job on the exhibits; don’t miss this emotional, but well-done museum.