Join the Conversation: 9/11 Memorial & Museum Anniversary in the Schools

  • September 1, 2022
Museum staff at their laptops during live chat session

Guest blogger Nicole Torres (center, in denim jacket) and Museum staff members during the the 2018 Anniversary in the Schools live chat

Ahead of the upcoming 21st anniversary commemoration and Anniversary in the Schools program, Education Specialist Nicole Torres guest blogs for us about the experience of answering student and teacher questions during the program's live chat. 

During the five years I have worked at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, one of the most common challenges shared with me by educators is how difficult it is to talk about the 9/11 attacks with students or members of their respective organizations. How do they even begin to break down the events of that day, especially to younger generations? To help address this question, the Museum’s education department created the annual Anniversary in the Schools program. This year will be my fourth time participating and connecting with students in real time to answer their questions and support educators.

The program offers teachers and other educators the opportunity to view a film highlighting first-person accounts of the attacks and their aftermath, while also allowing them to connect with Museum staff like me in real time through a live chat. Every year my colleagues and I come together in one of our meeting rooms, prepare any materials we might find helpful for answering questions, and spend the day interacting with hundreds of students and teachers from all over the world.

It is one of the most memorable and gratifying days that I spend at work — not only because we are interacting with so many people, but because of the way we come together to do so. Equipped with homemade pastries, coffee, and snacks, we create a roundtable with desks, chairs, and laptops. Diverse colleagues from across different Museum teams get a chance to spend the entire day together assisting each other with finding answers to questions, discovering the best ways to tell these stories, and building a mutual learning experience. As each student or educator clicks the blue chat bubble in the corner of the screen, they connect with one of us. The conversations I’ve had with teachers and students on the anniversary also guide me throughout the year — they let me know what we need to break down further, what questions most need to be answered on the other 364 days of the year, and what I can do better as an educator to assist in creating accessible and meaningful programming for students and teachers.

As for those who participate, they can feel confident that they are receiving the most accurate and up-to-date information. This 35-minute program is completely free and aids in starting the conversation surrounding 9/11 in classrooms, libraries, and other learning institutions. The program will be available on demand beginning Friday, September 9th and educators and their students can participate in our live chat on September 9th and 11th.

Register for this year’s Anniversary in the Schools program here. And don’t forget to click the blue chat bubble to connect with us as you watch!

To find more information and to view clips from previous years, visit

By Nicole Torres, Education Specialist

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