September 11th Memorial Museum Catches Heat for Suggesting $20 Entrance Fee

We’ve only checked in sporadically on the September 11th Memorial in New York, which is set to open on the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks and the resulting fall of the World Trade Center towers. After years of negative press, covering the many delays and setbacks the whole construction effort has struggled with (both with the memorial and the rebuilding of the site itself), everything seemed to reach a boil back in the spring of last year, when 60 Minutes decided to call the delays “a national disgrace.” But ever since then, things have quieted down considerably. Construction has continued to move along, the memorial is set to open soon, Michael Arad‘s waterfall memorial seems like its on track, etc. So with everything seemingly going so well, of course it was a given that there would be something to sabotage all that stability and unleash a barrage of negative press and ill will. Late last week, the Sept. 11 Memorial Museum suggested to the New York City Council that the organization was currently considering a $20 to $25 admission fee. They haven’t decided if this will be a required fee or simply a “suggested donation,” like they have at the Met, but upon the release of this news, the outrage was immediate. The NY Daily News spoke to councilmen who were against the idea (“This is not the Met, and it’s not an art museum. This is where we were attacked, and we don’t want to make it cost-prohibitive”) and the NY Post, whose headline, “Rich 9/11 Memorial ‘Gougers’,” spells out exactly their opinion on the matter, spoke to family members of victims of the attack, who also were against a fee. For their part, the museum has not yet decided for certain that there will be a charge for admission, have promised that “victims’ relatives would always enter for free” and that they are “still exploring ways to raise more money through grants” as an alternative solution to help pay their bills.