Men and women looks at a large black-and-white photograph and 16 tintype photographs displayed on a blue wall, which is part of the special exhibition “Skywalkers: A Portrait of the Mohawk Ironworker at the World Trade Center.”
Photo by Jin S. Lee

Skywalkers

Skywalkers: A Portrait of Mohawk Ironworkers at the World Trade Center is a temporary exhibition of tintype photographs by artist Melissa Cacciola.

On view through January 2020.

Photos in the Skywalkers exhibition are displayed on a wall in the Museum.
Photo by Jin S. Lee

About the Exhibition

Mohawk ironworkers have shaped the skylines of North American cities for more than 100 years. Using a trade honed across generations, members of the Mohawk nation have traveled great lengths and scaled astonishing heights to build iconic bridges and buildings, earning the nickname “skywalkers.” Their work is intertwined with the modern history of lower Manhattan, where these Native American ironworkers helped build the Twin Towers, aided rescue and recovery operations at Ground Zero, and worked to reconstruct the World Trade Center site. 

In this historical photograph from 1932, ironworkers eat lunch on a steel beam in Manhattan.
Ironworkers eat lunch on a steel beam, New York City, 1932.
Photo by Bettmann/Getty Images

Images on View

In 2012 and 2013, New York City–based photographer Melissa Cacciola created tintype portraits of Mohawk members of Local 40, a New York branch of an international ironworkers’ union. A medium dating to the American Civil War era, tintypes are developed directly onto metal plates, producing a unique image. Through her work, Cacciola created a powerful testament to the shared history of the Mohawk ironworkers and the World Trade Center site. 

Mohawk Audio Tour

An iPhone displays the Mohawk Audio Tour on the 9/11 Memorial mobile app.

Skywalkers is accompanied by an audio tour, featuring the voices of artist Melissa Cacciola and Mohawk ironworkers Lindsay LeBornge and Jeff Morris. The tour is available in English and in two Mohawk dialects, Ahkwesáhsne and Kahnawá:ke. This is the first time the Museum has translated an audio tour into an indigenous language. The translations are courtesy of the Kanien’keháka Onkwawén:na Raotitióhkwa Language and Cultural Center.

Listen to the making of the Mohawk audio tour below, or read the transcript.

Melissa Cacciola and a fourth-generation ironworker named Lindsay are on stage with two other people during a program about the Skywalkers exhibit in the Auditorium. The silhouettes of audience members are in the foreground.
Photo by Monika Graff

History of Mohawk Ironworkers at the World Trade Center Site

Watch artist Melissa Cacciola, Kahnawake Council Chief Lindsay LeBorgne, and Local 40 Business Manager Robert Walsh talk about the history of the Mohawk ironworkers at the World Trade Center site in a panel discussion held at the 9/11 Memorial Museum on December 13, 2018.