The National September 11 Memorial & Museum (also known as the 9/11 Memorial and 9/11 Memorial Museum) are the principal memorial and museum, respectively. They commemorate the September 11, 2001 attacks, which killed 2,977 victims, and the World Trade Center bombing of 1993, which killed six. The memorial is located at the World Trade Center site, the former location of the Twin Towers, which were destroyed during the September 11 attacks. It is operated by a non-profit corporation whose mission is to raise funds for, program, own, and operate the memorial and museum at the World Trade Center site.
A memorial was planned in the immediate aftermath of the attacks and destruction of the World Trade Center for the victims including those involved in rescue operations. The winner of the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition was Israeli architect Michael Arad of Handel Architects, a New York- and San Francisco-based firm. Arad worked with landscape-architecture firm Peter Walker and Partners on the design, a forest of trees with two square pools in the center where the Twin Towers stood. In August 2006, the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey began heavy construction on the memorial and museum. The design is consistent with the original Daniel Libeskind master plan, which called for the memorial to be 30 feet (9.1 m) below street level—originally 70 feet (21 m)—in a plaza, and was the only finalist to disregard Libeskind’s requirement that the buildings overhang the footprints of the Twin Towers. The World Trade Center Memorial Foundation was renamed the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in 2007.
On September 11, 2011, a dedication ceremony commemorating the tenth anniversary of the attacks was held at the memorial. It opened to the public the following day; the museum was dedicated on May 15, 2014 and opened on May 21. Three months after its opening, the memorial had been visited by over a million people. In 2012, the 9/11 Tribute Center collaborated with the 9/11 Memorial to offer private tours, which are hosted by family members of victims, first responders, and survivors.
In September 2007 the Memorial & Museum began a four-month national-awareness tour of 25 cities in 25 states, and thousands participated in tour activities. The tour began at Finlay Park in Columbia, South Carolina, ending at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida. Highlights included an exhibition of photographs, artifacts from the site and a film with firsthand accounts from individuals who had directly experienced the attacks. At the opening ceremony in South Carolina, the students of White Knoll Middle School (who raised over $500,000 in 2001 for a new truck for the New York City Fire Department) were honored and retired New York City police officer Marcelo Pevida presented the city with an American flag which had flown over Ground Zero. The main attractions of the 2007 national tour were steel beams, later used in the construction of the memorial, for visitors to sign.
The National September 11 Memorial & Museum conducts a “cobblestone campaign”, in which a contributor may sponsor a cobblestone or paver which will line the Memorial Plaza. Donors are recognized on the Memorial’s website. When it is completed, a donor will be able to locate their cobblestone or paver by entering their name at a kiosk on the Memorial Plaza. In 2008 the Memorial conducted two holiday cobblestone campaigns: the first for Father’s Day, and the second for the December holiday season.
On September 9, 2011, Secretary Shaun Donovan of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development said that the department had given $329 million to the September 11 Memorial and Museum through HUD’s Community Development Block Grant program. According to CNN, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey dropped its claim that the 9/11 Memorial and Museum Foundation owed it $300 million in construction costs in return for “financial oversight of the museum and memorial”.
The late Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii sponsored S.1537, the National September 11 Memorial and Museum Act of 2011, which would provide $20 million in federal funds annually toward the Memorial’s operating budget (about one-third of its total budget). The legislation was presented to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on October 19, 2011. In return for federal funding S.1537 would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to accept the donation by the memorial’s board of directors of title to the National September 11 Memorial, contingent on agreement by the board, the governors of New York and New Jersey, the Mayor of New York and the Secretary of the Interior. On October 19, 2011 William D. Shaddox of the National Park Service voiced concerns to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources about the agency’s ability to provide the funds required by S.1537, testifying that NPS ownership of a property over which it would not have operational and administrative control (as stipulated by S.1537) was unprecedented.