Now on View: Leonard White's Giraffe Figurine in the Memorial Exhibition

Leonard White poses in a suit for a professional photo. An adjacent image shows a dark gray figurine of a giraffe displayed on a light gray background. The figurine belonged to White.
Leonard White (left) collected West African art and giraffe figurines. Collection 9/11 Memorial Museum, Gift of the White family in memory of our brother, Leonard Anthony White. Photo by Michael Hnatov.

Before 9/11, Leonard White lived in Brooklyn and spent his free time going to the opera, exploring art galleries and attending Broadway shows. One of eight siblings, Leonard White frequently traveled from Brooklyn to see family in his hometown of Norfolk, Va. While there, he encouraged his nieces and nephews to pursue art and music.

White collected West African art to decorate his Brooklyn apartment. When he saw the elaborate giraffe costumes in a production of The Lion King on Broadway, he began collecting giraffe figurines as well, including the figurine currently on view in the Museum’s memorial exhibition. Nearly 18 years later, White’s family is still collecting giraffe-related memorabilia in his honor.

On 9/11, White was working for Verizon on the 110th floor of the South Tower. The selection of artifacts currently on view in the memorial exhibition all speak to the hobbies, writings or drawings of 19 of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 and Feb. 26, 1993 terror attacks.

By 9/11 Memorial Staff

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Downtown Artist Reflects on Painting Changed by 9/11

Naoto Nakagawa’s painting “Stars of the Forest” depicts star-shaped moss as dozens of rainbow-colored stars.

After 9/11, Naoto Nakagawa found that the work had been transformed by the tragedy. On the canvas, he now saw the star-shaped moss arranged in horizontal bands of color that evoked the American flag. Rather than sunlight, the light permeating the surface represented those who had been killed on 9/11, expressed as shining stars. 

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Reservations Open for School Programs at the 9/11 Memorial Museum

Middle school students gather around an instructor as he points out pieces of artwork displayed in a glass case at the Museum.

Fall reservations for school programs at the 9/11 Memorial Museum are now open. For program descriptions, visit our education programs page.

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