Message from the Museum Director

Message from the Museum Director

At the 9/11 Memorial Museum, the heart of our story is about the people most directly affected by this event. From the start of planning, we recognized that a core responsibility of the Museum was to undercut the very presumption of terrorism, that victims of such acts—in this case, mostly civilians who neither signed up for active combat nor were they that terrible morning in any way aware of the grave threat facing them—become nameless abstractions.

The Museum staff worked with families, friends, and colleagues of the victims as well as partners like Voices of September 11th, StoryCorps, and the 9/11 Tribute Center to secure as much material as possible about every individual killed, so that our visitors could be introduced to these people by those who knew them. In the 9/11 Memorial Museum, we want to remember people for how they lived, not just for how they died. And, in this sacred space, the number 2,983 is never an abstraction.

As an educational institution, the Museum strives to establish a level of literacy about the historical context for the events of September 11, the nature of the world in which we live, the reality of terrorism, and the often incompatible political forces that remain in tension with one another. But this Museum isn’t only about documenting history. It is about understanding our humanity.

The National September 11 Memorial Museum is a place for understanding ourselves and the world in which we live. It is a place for all of us, set within the foundations of the World Trade Center—at the epicenter of Ground Zero—to begin to imagine together the kind of world we want to build for the generations that will follow us.


Alice M. Greenwald
Director, Memorial Museum & Executive Vice President, Exhibitions, Collections & Education