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.
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.
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.
Walking Tours Begin
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.
A Center to Gather
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
Launch of Multi-Lingual Audio Tours
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.
Inspiring Teachers and Students
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.
One Million Visitors
Tribute WTC Visitor Center welcomed the 1,000,000th visitor to the galleries. Over 100,000 people attended our walking tours that year.
Traveling and Changing Exhibits
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.
Lectures and Journeys
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.
9/11 Day of Service
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.
Online Oral History Exhibits
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
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.