The 9/11 Tribute Center plans to move from its current headquarters, adjacent to the World Trade Center, to a larger space in the Greenwich South section of the Financial District. The move is necessitated by the growth in the Tribute Center’s exhibits and programs, as well as its swelling roster of visitors.
The Tribute Center opened in 2006, with two, related goals: to help those traumatized by the terrorist attacks to September 11, 2001 to heal by sharing their stories, while at the same time helping visitors to the site of the attacks learn from (and be inspired) by these personal accounts. The Tribute Center’s motto is “stories of September 11th told by those who were there.” This person-to-person approach to history, which consists of linking visitors who want to understand the events that took place at the site with those who lived through them, make the Tribute Center experience deeply moving.
For ten years, the Tribute Center has been located at 120 Liberty Street, next to the Engine 10/Ladder 10 firehouse, which played a central role in the emergency response to the disaster, and in the former quarters of Liberty Deli, which served thousands of meals to first responders in the months after the attacks. The Tribute Center renovated this space to house exhibits of photographs and artifacts, while also serving as a base for walking tours and lectures. In that decade, the Tribute Center has served more than four million visitors, and trained 800-plus volunteers.
But the organization’s mission has now outgrown its original headquarters. This led the September 11th Families’ Association, the not-for-profit group that founded the Tribute Center, to search for a larger home. Earlier this year, they found it, at 88 Greenwich Street, on the corner of Rector Street. The new location is three blocks south of the original, 120 Liberty Street site. The new facility, which is slated to debut in the spring of next year, will contain 40,000 square feet of space on three levels, and is being designed to host between 750,000 and one million visitors annually. (The current Tribute Center will continue to operate until the new one opens.)
The expanded 9/11 Tribute Center will include exhibits depicting not only the events of 9/11, and the response, recovery and rebuilding that followed, but also new content focusing on global outreach and “Seeds of Service” — a digital interactive program designed to inspire visitors to make a commitment to volunteer and perform acts of charitable service.
“As we focus on tomorrow, we have to let young people know that through an understanding of 9/11 they can learn the importance of service and contributing to their communities,” said Lee Ielpi, board president of the September 11th Families’ Association, who also co-founded of the 9/11 Tribute Center. “They can remember and honor those who were lost on 9/11 by participating in acts of service. The expanded exhibits and programs will allow people from around the world to understand and then commit to acts of service to make a difference in their communities.”
Jennifer Adams-Webb, chief executive officer and co-founder of the 9/11 Tribute Center, said, “the mission will remain focused on the authentic stories of the 9/11 community and expand to include that community as a model of recovery and inspiration for service. Exhibitions will focus on the global connection of Lower Manhattan from the early days of immigration, to trade, to the development of skyscrapers.”
One third of the Tribute Center’s expanded content will focus on the history of 9/11 and its immediate aftermath, while another third will emphasize the long-term emotional recovery and rebuilding that followed, and the remainder will showcase the humanitarian activism of the worldwide response. Oral history videos, immersive media, environmental graphics and selected artifacts (accompanied by stories) are all being designed to offer a deeper understanding of public service, and inspire renewed awareness of collective responsibility in the aftermath of any disaster.