First look into surreal 9/11 Museum to open next spring

Everyone remembers where they were on Sept. 11, 2001. Though the day was nearly 12 years ago, some memories are as vivid as the day they occurred. And the museum dedicated to honoring those lost on that terrible day promises to preserve those memories in moving fashion.

9-11 Museum
Photo credit: Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

“You thought it was as bad as it would get, and then it got worse,” Alice M. Greenwald, the director of the National September 11 Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center, told the New York Times, recalling how Americans felt that day.

Greenwald described how the galleries will unfold for visitors. The Times offers one glimpse of the profound nature of the museum:

Rounding one corner, a visitor will suddenly come upon the rear end of Engine 21 (“Keep back 200 feet,” it still commands), looking merely like an old fire truck that has seen a lot of action. A few steps more into the gallery, however, and it is revealed as a mechanical carcass.

The cab, all its trim and livery burned away, resembles a skull.

Transitions like this — by turns shocking and calming, distressing and heartening, awe-inspiring and grief-inducing — compose the memorial museum.

The vast subterranean space has contributed to the museum’s uniqueness. Greenwald told The Times that as a rule, “historical artifacts were housed in museums.”

“We are, literally, a museum that’s housed in an artifact,” she said. At the museum’s lowest level, some of the Twin Towers’ original columns will be on display.

Despite some damage from Hurricane Sandy, the museum is still planning to open in the spring of 2014 as planned.

Take the tour with The New York Times here.

Read the complete Times report here.

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