The New York City 9/11 Tribute Museum in Lower Manhattan closed down permanently on Wednesday.
The Tribute Museum was founded by the September 11th Families’ Association, but could not survive the strict lockdowns in the city during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Three blocks from the World Trade Center site, the 30,000 square foot museum relied heavily on ticketed admissions to stay afloat financially.
One of the founders of the museum has repeatedly stated that their earned income was “annihilated” after being closed for six months due to the COVID-19 shutdown.
“Financial hardship including lost revenue caused by the pandemic prevents us from generating sufficient funding to continue to operate the physical museum,” Jennifer Adams-Webb, co-founder of the museum and the CEO of the September 11th Families’ Association, told ABC 7.
Adams-Webb elaborated on the impact the COVID shutdown had while speaking to The New York Post.
“Two-thirds of our income revenue annually comes from our earned income from admissions,” Adams-Webb told the Post. “We were completely closed for six months in 2020. We had been averaging 300,000 visitors a year … and last year we had a total of 26,000 visitors, so it completely annihilated our earned income.”
Adams-Webb said that without financial support from the city or state, there is no chance that they could stay open.
“There’s no way we’re going to be able to dig out of this at this rate,” said Adams-Webb. “We need the state or the city to step in with other partners to be able to say, ‘We value you. We want to save this organization,’ but at this point, we can’t continue to dig into a hole.”
“We’re very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish, but … the place for the 9/11 community to come is not here,” she said. “It’s a huge loss for those people who called this their second home, where they could come and share their story … There’s no museum that has the dual mission we have to support the community and also educate visitors that come here.”
The majority of the collection of artifacts from the museum will be sent to the New York State Museum in Albany.
The mission of the museum, according to their website, was for “visitors to share personal stories of the 9/11 community — family members who lost loved ones, survivors, first responders and rescue workers, civilian volunteers, and community residents whose healing is a testament to the perseverance of the human spirit.”
Their mission statement continued, “we provide an understanding of the loss and impact of 9/11 while inspiring the power of resilience and recovery.”