9/11 memorial museum criticized over gift shop, private party - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

9/11 museum gift shop, private party cast somber shadow

Posted: Updated:
A photo of the National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York. (Source: Google Maps/MGN Online) A photo of the National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York. (Source: Google Maps/MGN Online)
Inside the 9/11 Memorial Museum, which opened to the public on Wednesday. (Source: WCBS/POOL/CNN) Inside the 9/11 Memorial Museum, which opened to the public on Wednesday. (Source: WCBS/POOL/CNN)
The flag that flew over Ground Zero was unfurled during a ceremony at the public opening of the 9/11 Memorial Museum on Wednesday. (Source: WCBS/POOL/CNN) The flag that flew over Ground Zero was unfurled during a ceremony at the public opening of the 9/11 Memorial Museum on Wednesday. (Source: WCBS/POOL/CNN)
  • Most ReadMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Mississippi unemployment highest in nation

    Mississippi unemployment highest in nation

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 5:43 PM EDT2014-08-20 21:43:48 GMT
    June 2014, Labor Market Information Dept.June 2014, Labor Market Information Dept.
    The most recent numbers have been released and once again, Mississippi's unemployment rate has ranked highest in the nation. The national average, according to the U.S. Labor Department, is 6.2%, whileMore >>
    The most recent numbers have been released and once again, Mississippi's unemployment rate has ranked highest in the nation. The national average, according to the U.S. Labor Department, is 6.2%, whileMore >>
  • Police still investigating whether Vicksburg incident was an abduction

    Police find 2-month-old child allegedly abducted in Vicksburg

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 1:52 PM EDT2014-08-20 17:52:07 GMT
    According to law enforcement sources, a 2-month-old baby in Vicksburg has been found, along with the man who is accused of abducting the child.  We are told that suspect kicked in the door at 400 BayouMore >>
    The mother of the child reported that her ex-boyfriend, Kevin Buck, entered her house and took the child without her permission.
    More >>
  • Tropical wave development possible, not likely

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 3:19 PM EDT2014-08-20 19:19:08 GMT
    There is currently a lot of misinformation (and fear) floating around the Internet about the development of a hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean threatening the Gulf Coast of the United States late next week.More >>
    There is currently a lot of misinformation (and fear) floating around the Internet about the development of a hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean threatening the Gulf Coast of the United States late next week.More >>

NEW YORK (RNN) – A handful of controversies have marred the somber public opening of the National Sept. 11 Memorial Museum.

Among the few concerns is a $24 admission fee for the general public and a gift shop that sells memorabilia of the Twin Towers on coffee mugs and t-shirts. Also on-site is The Pavilion Cafe, slated to open this summer, that will seat 80 and serve a "seasonal, mostly vegetarian menu" of "comfort foods" and alcohol, according to The New York Times.

Families of the victims are concerned that the memorial and the lives lost are being used as a money making tourist attraction for the city of New York.

Joe Daniels, the president of the memorial, told CNN that with the yearly operational costs totaling $65 million, admission fees and gift shop sales aren't meant to trivialize, but sustain the memorial.

Daniels said the gift shop's top sellers are educational DVDs and books about Sept. 11 and the history behind the events of the day.

A headline of one New York City newspaper called the memorial gift shop a "Little Shop of Horrors," and quoted one victim's mother as saying, "To me, it's the crassest, most insensitive thing to have a commercial enterprise at the place where my son died."

The latest controversy includes reports of mourning firefighters being told to leave the museum so it could be readied for a black-tie event, hosted by New York-based media company and museum donor Conde Nast. The event was attended by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The New York Post reported the party, held Tuesday, was VIP-only and served alcohol to the 50 to 60 guests in attendance. Museum spokesman Michael Frazier called the event "a small gathering" and some of the guests were family members of 9/11 victims.

"The small gathering was done respectfully and in recognition of our supporters who helped to build the memorial and museum," Frazier said to the New York Daily News.

Families do not pay for admission to the museum and were given private admission prior to the public opening.

According to the Christian Science-Monitor, 1,115 victims remain unidentified and entombed in the site where the memorial stands. On Sept. 11, 2,753 people were reported missing.

In its mission statement, the museum says it "is to bear solemn witness to the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993," and "honors the nearly 3,000 victims of these attacks and all those who risked their lives to save others."

The memorial was opened to the public on Wednesday.

Find out more information about the National September 11 Memorial Museum at its website.

Follow me on Twitter @TanitaG_RNN.

Copyright 2014 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

  • News 7 Poll

  • What do you think of a gift shop and a black tie event being held at the Sept. 11 Memorial Museum?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    I think that it's disrespectful to the lives lost on Sept. 11.
    54%
    153 votes
    I don't see anything wrong with it. Other museums have gift shops and host private events.
    40%
    114 votes
    No opinion
    6%
    16 votes