Manhattan Museums: World Trade Center Site's 9/11 Memorial Museum

Visiting the National September 11 Memorial Museum

Illuminateed autumn trees and skyscrapers at 9/11
••• Toshi Sasaki/Getty Images

The National September 11 Memorial Museum debuted in 2014, ushering in one of the major milestones in the rebirth of downtown Manhattan's World Trade Center site. Showcasing the story of September 11 through artifacts, multimedia displays, archives, and oral histories, the 110,000-square-foot museum marks the nation's premier institution for documenting the impact and significance of the events surrounding that fateful day.

Situated at the foundation, or bedrock, of the former World Trade Center site, visitors here encounter two core exhibitions. The "In Memoriam" exhibit pays tribute to the nearly 3,000 victims of the 2001 (as well as the 1993 WTC bombing) attacks, via personal stories, memorabilia, and more. The historical exhibition, portrayed through artifacts, photographs, audio and visual clips, and first-person testimonials, examines the events surrounding the three American sites struck during 9/11, and explores the contributing factors to the overall incident, as well as its aftermath and global impact.

Perhaps of most impact, a temporary resting place for thousands of unidentified victim body parts, along with a family visiting room, are located in the structure's adjacent Medical Examiner's office. The "remains repository" is run separately from the museum and is off-limits to the general public, though visitors can take note that it's set behind the viewable wall inscribed with a quote by Roman poet Virgil, “No day shall erase you from the memory of time.”

The adjacent National September 11 Memorial, which has been open since September 2011, traces the imprints of the original Twin Towers with two reflecting pools, and memorial walls that depict the names of 9/11 victims (as well as the victims of the 1993 bombing). This outdoor memorial site is free to the public.

The National September 11 Memorial Museum is open from 9am to 8pm from Sunday through Thursday (with the last entry at 6pm), 9am to 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays (last entry 7pm). Allow at least two hours for your visit.

Tickets cost $24/adults; $18/seniors/students; $15/kids ages 7 to 18 (kids ages 6 and under are free); though admission is free on Tuesdays after 5pm (free tickets are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, after 4pm), and always complimentary to 9/11 families and rescue and recovery workers, as well as military. Ticket can be purchased online at 911memorial.org.