LOWER MANHATTAN (WPIX) – The 9/11 Tribute Museum in Manhattan is shuttering on Wednesday, officials for the museum announced this week.
The museum, not to be confused with the National Sept. 11 Memorial & Museum located at the site of the World Trade Center, will maintain an online presence, but financial difficulties mean the doors of the NYC location will close permanently.
Most of the museum’s collection will be moved to the New York State Museum in Albany. The museum is working to make sure everything is respectfully handled.
The 9/11 Tribute Museum had been experiencing hardships because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which took a toll on tourism and further exacerbated financial difficulties. Just last week, officials had even attempted to garner support for a Change.org petition to save the space, aimed at Gov. Kathy Hochul and NYC Mayor Eric Adams.
“We’ve really been hanging on by a thread,” co-founder and CEO Jennifer Adams-Webb said, per the Associated Press.
The museum traces its roots to 2004, when a group — founded by victims’ relatives — decided to turn a former deli near ground zero into a focal point for the commemoration of the 2001 terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. The site of the World Trade Center was still a massive pit and construction site in 2004, but visitors were already coming in droves.
The tribute museum was eventually dwarfed by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, a $700 million taxpayer-subsidized project that opened its memorial plaza in 2011 and a vast underground museum in 2014. The museum alone has drawn more than 18 million visitors and the open-air, un-ticketed plaza an estimated 55 million.
The 9/11 Tribute Museum, meanwhile, has been visited by over 5 million people since opening in 2005, by its own account. Its focus was to remember and honor those lost in the attacks through the personal stories of those who experienced, survived or lost family and friends on 9/11.
Through guided tours and exhibits, visitors to the 9/11 Tribute Museum were given “person-to-person” accounts demonstrating “the tremendous spirit of resilience and service that arose after the attacks, and are encouraged to honor the legacy of that spirit through volunteerism and acts of kindness in their own communities,” according to the museum.
It’s unclear when the museum’s collection will be placed on display at the New York State Museum in Albany.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.