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I recently hosted my 10-year-old niece as she visited New York City for the first time, and at the top of her list of things to do was to visit the Statue of Liberty and go to the 9/11 Tribute Museum – the Statue of Liberty because it’s one of the most famous and popular tourist destinations in the world and the 9/11 Tribute Museum because she wanted to see where her uncle works! Yes, in the interest of full disclosure – and because it is relevant to the narrative – I should make it clear that I am the Associate Curator & Collections Manager at the 9/11 Tribute Museum.

By making 9/11 the beginning of a larger and more uplifting narrative, it becomes easier to share the stories of 9/11 with a younger audience

In addition to covering the events of 9/11, Tribute really focuses on inspiring stories of compassion and resilience of those who were effected and have done something positive in response. This is one of the reasons I appreciate being a part of the 9/11 Tribute Museum. By making 9/11 the beginning of a larger and more uplifting narrative, it becomes easier to share the stories of 9/11 with a younger audience. I was able to take my niece through the galleries and have a meaningful conversation with her, using the artifacts, images, videos and quotes as starting points.

We also went to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island that day and were able to skip the ticket line. Tribute sells a combo package that includes tickets for both the Tribute Museum and the ferry to Liberty and Ellis Islands. So when you go down to the water, you already have your tickets and can go right to the boats, saving yourself some time and a few bucks while you’re at it.

The Statue of Liberty is a popular place for many reasons – up close, it is a wonder to behold and offers amazing views of Lower Manhattan

The Statue of Liberty is a popular place for many reasons – up close, it is a wonder to behold and offers amazing views of Lower Manhattan. My favorite part, however, is an old National Parks sign on the bottom of the Statue’s pedestal, facing east. It has been there about 20 years and it shows the evolution of the Lower Manhattan skyline from 1908 to 1997, and right there, front and center in the big panoramic image are the Twin Towers. It was installed as historic interpretation but has become an artifact itself, perhaps in need of an explanatory plaque of its own. It can’t be accidental that it is still there, describing a “present day” skyline that was so suddenly and unalterably changed on 9/11. I imagine that it’s been left in place so that people could see where the towers once stood and perhaps to remember a time when our future skyline looked a little more complete.

After a quick baloney sandwich lunch and looking up ancestors on Ellis Island, we were all thoroughly exhausted and ready to head back to the city. As I watched the Lower Manhattan skyline approach from outside the ferry window, I found myself thinking about the changes it went through from 1908 to 1997 and then again, since 9/11 and seeing the resilience in New York City, in the skyline’s unending ability to continue to grow.

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Poem in Your Pocket Day at the 9/11 Tribute Museum, with Sarah Kay of Project Voice3 WTC Opening June 11 2018 - Photo Credit: Joe Woolhead