Timeline: 9/11 Memorial Museum Fields Controversy

BY Meena Ganesan  September 11, 2012 at 4:03 PM EDT


An artist rendering of the National September 11 Memorial Museum. By Squared Design Lab.

More than a decade of remembrance later, a $1 billion museum at Ground Zero has still not opened — as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. Andrew Cuomo remain at odds over whose agency will pay for the museum’s operating costs and for how long.

See below for a timeline of the controversy, beginning with the museum’s conception in 2005.


9/11 Memorial Museum Fields Controversy

More than a decade of remembrance later, a $1 billion museum at Ground Zero has still not opened — as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. Andrew Cuomo remain at odds over whose agency will pay for the museum’s operating costs and for how long.

Storified by NewsHour · Tue, Sep 11 2012 13:05:10

Sept. 11, 2012 – The museum’s completion has been in flux for a year, and newestimates from the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation estimate at least one more year of constructionbefore preparations for an opening can begin.
Challenges Remain for September 11 Memorial MuseumWhile much of the World Trade Center Memorial Plaza has already opened to the public, the memorial museum, which lies 70 feet below groun…
July 4, 2012 – A series of editorials call for an end to the impasse, including one from The New York Times: “This stalemate feels like a big step backward,” wrote the newspaper’s editorial staff, alluding to Mayor Bloomberg and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey’s dispute over money — including future maintenance of the museum.

The Times’ editorial staff adds that as neither Bloomberg, Gov. Cuomo, nor Christie wanted to entangle the memorial and museum in a political process, it should not be difficult for the museum to move forward.

End the impasse on 9/11 Memorial Museum – EditorialEditorial Memories of that horrible day 11 years ago remain indelible. Searing images of airplanes slamming into the World Trade Center, …
Feb. 1, 2012 – More Politics: Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., blocks legislation that would provide $20 million a year in federal funding for the museum, citing the country’s debt as a “national security threat,” according to Politico.
Tom Coburn blocks 9/11 museum funding – Scott WongSen. Tom Coburn is blocking legislation that would provide $20 million a year in federal funding for the National September 11 Memorial &…
Sept. 12, 2011 – Ten years after the tragedy, the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center opens to the public
An Early Peek At The 9/11 Museum At Ground Zero | Fast CompanyIn remembrance of 9/11, we’re reposting a tour we did last year of the 9/11 memorial and museum at Ground Zero. – Ed.] "In 100 years, the…
Sept. 8, 2011 – Watch a time-lapse video of work on the memorial here.
At Ground Zero, Balancing Memories and FunctionBy: Murrey Jacobson Security at ground zero in New York. Photo by Tatyana Budanskaya/www.fiveWphoto.com If you’ve spent any time in recen…
Sept. 9, 2010 – A hoisted 50-ton steel column, recovered from the World Trade Center, will eventually compliment the museum’s entryway, according to the Associated Press.
WTC steel columns installed at 9/11 museum – USATODAY.comNEW YORK (AP) – A salvaged 50-ton steel column was hoisted onto a support structure Tuesday at the World Trade Center site, where it will…
Feb. 24, 2010 – Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., introduce legislation to create an official 9/11 commemorative medal to raise funds for the memorial and museum at the World Trade Center.
Sept. 10, 2009 – On the eve of the seventh anniversary of 9/11, architectural previews of the museum announce plans of a Memorial Pavilion, reflecting pool and quiet spaces.

A National September 11 Memorial & Museum press release: “To reach the primary exhibition space, visitors will descend a gently ramped ‚ribbon, echoing the ramp that once was used by construction workers to help build the World Trade Center and was again used in the aftermath of the attacks for the recovery and clean-up of the site and by victims’ family members to access bedrock on anniversaries of 9/11. From the ramp, vistas will be created, providing a sense of the vastness of the site and the scale of the original Towers. Visitors will be able to stand between the locations of the original Twin Towers and experience their scale, which will be referenced by two metal-clad, ethereal volumes.”

9/11 survivors’ staircase moved to entrance of museumThe historic suvivors’ stairs are moved for the last time. > (Sabo/News ) The survivors’ staircase, the 37 concrete steps that scores of …
July 2006 – With the foundation’s launch of a Museum Conversation Series, noting the character of “21st century museums,” director Alice Greenwald introduces the institution’s plans with a New York Times quote referencing the Museum of the African Diaspora.

“Museums are morphing. Once they were chroniclers or collectors, gathering objects and facts and putting them on display. Now many have become crucibles: places where a cultural identity is hammered out, refined and reshaped.” -Edward Rothstein

A Leader Is Chosen for the 9/11 Museum – New York TimesSeeking a leader to guide a much-disputed 9/11 museum into existence at ground zero, officials announced yesterday that they had settled …
April 22, 2006 – “The question is how do we get it right, and who makes final decisions about it. We’re not going to please everybody.”  -Alice Greenwald.
Alice Greenwald, 9/11 Museum Director, Girds for Challenge – New York TimesAlice Greenwald knows full well what she could be in for as she maps out a memorial museum at ground zero. She watched last year as an ou…
March 30, 2006 – “All museums in this day and age charge to get in. Somebody’s got to pay the maintenance, and we’re not going to have fewer cops or fewer teachers or invest less in our cultural institutions just to pick up another expense. We’ve got to get the money from someplace, and that’s just the real world.” -Mayor Bloomberg, reiterating the expansive costs tied to the World Trade Center memorial museum.
Fee Foreseen at 9/11 Museum – New York TimesNew York City cannot afford to support the operation of the World Trade Center memorial museum, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said yesterday…
Jan. 5, 2005 – The World Trade Center Memorial Foundation holds its “inaugural meeting” and releases a press release, announcing plans to “construct, own, operate and maintain the World Trade Center Memorial, an on-site museum and a performing arts building.

Related:

  • **America Remembers 9/11** Sept. 11, 2011 – Capturing Tributes in Unexpected Places, NewsHour’s Tenth Anniversary Coverage

  • For more coverage from the 11th anniversary of Sept 11. and the controversy surrounding the memorial museum, watch Tuesday’s NewsHour.

Politics desk assistant Beth Garbitelli and social media editor Colleen Shalby contributed to this report.