HRibbon cutting ceremony for Tribute with former Governor George Pataki and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg

9/11 Tribute Center, a project of the September 11th Families’ Association, a 501(c)3 non profit, began serving the public in 2006.

The September 11th Families’ Association was created by the widows and families of the Fire Department of New York. The Association established a new mission to unite and support all victims of terrorism through communication, representation and peer support. The 9/11 Tribute Center embodies the need to gather at the World Trade Center site, connecting the people, places and events of February 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001 and reflect.

9/11 Tribute Center guide speaks to visitor in the galleries

Former Deli Now Serves History

In the aftermath of 9/11 the Liberty Deli became a station where meals and supplies were given to rescue workers. The Association renovated the space to create an educational center to fulfill its mission. The 9/11 Tribute Center (formerly known as the Tribute WTC Visitor Center) was created with photos, artifacts and stories lovingly shared by the September 11th community. All revenues support educational programming and the operation of the 9/11 Tribute Center. All galleries are ADA-compliant.

First Newsletter in September 11th Families' Association history

First Publication

July 2002

The September 11th Families’ Association (formerly the September 11th Widows and Victims Families’ Association) published its first newsletter, launching its ongoing role as an educational organization for the 9/11 community. Over time, the Association expanded its mission to offer visitors to the World Trade Center site a place to connect with people from the September 11th community, through walking tours, exhibits and programs.

Tours began early in the history of the 9/11 Tribute Center

Walking Tours Begin

Fall 2005

We worked with McKinsey & Co. to design a 5-point walking tour. After a year, over two hundred guides were trained to lead visitors around the site while sharing their stories. 30,000 visitors experienced our dynamic walking tour during this first full year. Our guides express a sense of validation and healing when leading tours and treasure the opportunity to learn from each other. Today we offer about 40 tours per week.

Construction workers take a break during the renovation of the former deli

A Center to Gather

September 2006

The Liberty Deli was renovated into a dramatic experience for visitors in which the stories and treasured artifacts of those that experienced 9/11 are revealed. Using our collection of hundreds of oral histories and the directives of our advisory groups, many diverse points of view are shared. Artifacts were loaned by the 9/11 Community and the New York State Museum. When the Tribute WTC Visitor Center opened, 4,200 family members and national dignitaries attended.
Photo by Curtis Quinn

Introduction of First Audio Tour

Launch of Multi-Lingual Audio Tours

March 2007

The Spirit of Tribute was released. This audio tour containing stories from 16 of our guides was offered in six languages to serve the global community. Today, we offer a new audio tour that guides visitors through our galleries and onto the 9/11 Memorial, with story excerpts from more than 20 of our guides, narrated by Lee Ielpi.

History Lee Ielpi leads students through the 9/11 Tribute Center

Inspiring Teachers and Students

September 2008

Serving schools becomes central to the mission of the 9/11 Tribute Center. Over 10,000 students visit the 9/11 Tribute Center each year. To increase our reach to classrooms throughout the country, we created free online resources. September 11th: Personal Stories of Transformation, a classroom toolkit of resources, annually serves another 10,000 people.

History Tribute welcomes 1,000,000th visitor

One Million Visitors

March 2009

Tribute WTC Visitor Center welcomed the 1,000,000th visitor to the galleries. Over 100,000 people attended our walking tours that year.

Visitors interact with USS NEW YORK exhibit

Traveling and Changing Exhibits

November 2009

The 9/11 Tribute Center created over a dozen changing or traveling exhibits. The exhibit about the USS NEW YORK, a tribute to the ship that contains steel from the World Trade Center, continues to travel to other history centers. The 9/11 Tribute Center adopted the USS NEW YORK and continues their relationship with the ship.

Veterans Reading Their Writing at one of many events in 9/11 Tribute Center's history

Lectures and Journeys

November 2010

Six times a year, lectures are offered that further explore topics concerning the impact of the terrorist attacks of September 11th. Our guides travel annually to the sites of the attacks on the Pentagon and Flight 93 to forge relationships with those communities.

Corporate volunteers build bikes at the 2012 Day of Service

9/11 Day of Service

September 2012

Each year the 9/11 Tribute Center participates in the 9/11 Day of Service in remembrance of those we lost. Outside the Intrepid, hundreds of volunteers from companies affected by the attacks assembled bikes for the children of our currently deployed soldiers and sailors.

History National Guard Online Story Collection

Online Oral History Exhibits

September 2013

Based on our collection of over 400 oral histories, the 9/11 Tribute Center offers a range of thematically organized oral history excerpts. Many of these are now available on our website.


“We Were There” Presentations at the 9/11 Memorial Museum

June 2014

In partnership with the 9/11 Memorial Museum, every Tuesday at 4pm, two 9/11 Tribute Center guides present their compelling stories. Each story is put into an historic context by a moderator, who is also a 9/11 Tribute Center guide.


Inaugural Dine Out for 9/11 Tribute Event

September 2015

Dine Out for 9/11 Tribute takes place on the anniversary of the September 11th attacks, and promotes the mission of the 9/11 Tribute Center. This initiative provides restaurants with an excellent opportunity to highlight their cuisine in support of a worthy cause, and demonstrate their commitment to a revitalized New York.