After speaking with the September 11th Families’ Association that has founded this special museum, there were signs back in early March that this day was coming. They first made the announcement March 22, and since then it has been a slow rumble to a stop at the museum. An incredible decline in tourists, visitors and profit that came about since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the Tribute Museum to close its doors.
It is indeed a hardship for everyone involved, as it is a financial hardship for the museum because of lost revenue and because of the pandemic stopping the operation of sufficient funding to keep it alive. The number of visitors has drastically declined in the last year. Before the pandemic versus after the pandemic, the museum has suffered a net loss of a little over 450,000 guests a year.
"We're millions of dollars in debt with our lease, and to try and make that up on top of our annual operating cost is almost impossible without visitors or some intervention from our government," co-founder and CEO Jennifer Adams-Webb said. The museum on Greenwich Street that is completely separate from the main memorial on Ground Zero will continue its attendance on the internet, which will continue to allow love and support for the historical event and the 9/11 community.
The Closing of a Chapter for Those Still Healing
Multiple people relying on the 9/11 foundation will also find themselves out of luck with the closing of this operation. The people that rely on the museum the most are the Tribute Guided Walking Tour Program that takes care of first responders, residents and family members and the community of survivors.
"Everything we've done, I've been proud of," volunteer Peter Bitwinski said. Bitwinski feels as if the number of handshakes and meeting people and family members in the last 13 years has made it all worth his while.
Bitwinski has been the epitome of surviving life with the World Trade Center. He was there during the bombing of the WTC In 1993 that happened in the North Tower. And in 2001, he was in an office on the 69th floor during the attacks.
Bitwinski recalls being not sure if he would make it, but by clinging to high hope, he did. He then found his passion for the museum, and it helped him find peace. Due to the troubles happening with the New York City location, most of the collection from 9/11 will be moved to the Albany, NY location.
One Less Place to Help Survivors
Families and staff members that are working with the 9/11 Tribute Museum will continue to closely work with New York State to initiate transfers of all artifacts and such important objects so that nothing will be lost.
Even though the closure is necessary, many wish the government could help to maintain its main New York Location, also known as its home.
After the attacks in 2001, there was an association created and founded in November of the same year to help provide awareness to support the 9/11 community and families. The museum opened in 2006, created specifically by the families and loved ones of the persons who died in the attacks, and it was open as a support system for all of the victims' families.
With everything said and done, the museum welcomed over 5 million visitors to learn from the heartbreaking events and long-term effects that have come about as a result of the 9/11 attacks.
Learn more about 9/11 and its history by visiting the website of 9/11 Memorial.