Exploring The September 11 Museum in Two Hours or Less

The September 11 Memorial Museum opened its doors in May 2014, serving as both a memorial space and exhibition. Encompassing 110,000 square feet of gallery space and constructed 70 feet below ground, the museum incorporates 23,000 images, over 500 hours of video and 10,300 artifacts.

2014 marks the first year that the museum will be open on the anniversary of 9/11 and with so many things to see and do visitors could easily while away a whole afternoon wandering the displays. But for those on time constraints, NewYork.com has rounded up the must-sees and the best routes in this sprawling construction, so guests can get the most out of their visit.

30 Minutes - Visitors on a tight time frame of thirty minutes should arrive prepared with a direct plan. On entrance, skip the 15-minute introductory video being shown in the theatre and move up to the third floor to the September 11, 2001 exhibit, one of the museum's main components. This display focuses on the day of 9/11 and features news clips from across the globe, timelines of events and audio of distress calls. Guests can learn about the architecture of the Twin Towers as well as the history of Al-Qaeda. At the exit, guests will find themselves in the Foundation Hall, where a wall from the tower's foundation and a steel column covered in memorial inscriptions is on display. 

One hour – Guests should still skip the introductory video to focus on some of the more important exhibits. One hour provides just enough time to walk through most of the museum. The North and South Tower Galleries offer visitors a look at the day, what happened to each tower and the aftermath. A must-see is the Memorial Exhibition, where photographs of all 2,977 people who lost their lives that day hang on the wall. Guests can use an interactive feature to search the photos and learn about each victim. Recommended is Rebirth at Ground Zero, a film which chronicles the development of the new World Trade Center


Two Hours – Two hours gives guests plenty of time to experience the entire space. On arrival, visitors should take in the 15-minute introductory film before descending into the actual museum. The North and South Tower Galleries, the September 11, 2001 Exhibit and the Rebirth at Ground Zero film should all be explored in detail. After completing the full tour, guests will end their trip in the Foundation Hall which contains the last column. 

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