Historical Exhibition

Historical Exhibition

Part 1: Events of the day 

The first section of the historical exhibition presents the events of the day as they unfolded on September 11, 2001. Visitors learn how the normalcy of a beautiful, late summer day was overtaken by disbelief and increasing horror as America came under attack. Using artifacts, images, video, first-person testimony, and real-time audio recordings from 9/11, the exhibition provides insight into the human drama underway within the hijacked airplanes, the Twin Towers, and the Pentagon, as well as the courageous actions of first responders and civilians assisting one another, and the experiences of people near and far from the attack sites. As day turned to night, and our collective sense of history had changed: there would now forever be a "before 9/11" and an "after 9/11."

Part 2: Before 9/11

Image shows a model of the World Trade Center towers by architect Minoru Yamasaki on display in the historical exhibition.  

After learning about the events of that day, visitors enter a series of galleries that chronicle what led up to the attacks on 9/11. The exhibition examines the World Trade Center as a symbol and a target. It then addresses the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the evolution of the terrorist network al-Qaeda. The exhibition features trial evidence, oral testimony and archival news footage.

Part 3: After 9/11

The nine-month recovery period that formally ended May 30, 2002 is documented through authentic artifacts as shown in the historical exhibition.

The culminating chapter of the historical exhibition takes visitors from the immediate aftermath of 9/11 to the present moment, exploring the character and challenges of the post-9/11 world. From presentations on collective grief, global responses, and the search for the missing in the immediate days and weeks after the attacks, the exhibition will explore the prodigious efforts of recovery and rebuilding at the three attack sites, describing innumerable acts of compassion, volunteerism and public service. A final alcove presents the ongoing questions arising out of 9/11, and the evolving nature of how we understand its significance and place in history.