24 Are Appointed to Set Details of Museum at Ground Zero
By DAVID W. DUNLAP
Published: April 9, 2004
The veil was lifted slightly yesterday on the Memorial Center, the interpretive museum proposed for the World Trade Center site, as the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation announced the formation of an advisory committee that will help plan it.
Archives as well as artifacts may be part of the museum, said John C. Whitehead, chairman of the corporation. He also said the Memorial Center might have interactive exhibits alongside more conventional displays.
As for possible artifacts, a large photograph set on an easel at St. Paul's Chapel, opposite ground zero, where the announcement was made, showed a half-dozen ravaged objects that had emerged from the trade center collapse: sections of the broadcast mast, steel trident columns from the facade, PATH station turnstiles, an Alexander Calder stabile, a compressed section of floor slabs and the last column removed from ground zero.
The underground Memorial Center is to provide a tangible, narrative history of the World Trade Center and the attacks of 1993 and 2001. The memorial proper, in which the victims' names are enumerated, will be above and around the museum. It is to be completed within five years.
The programming and collection of the museum will be considered by the new 24-member committee, working with the assistance of a group of seven experts. They include Ric Burns, the director of the 2003 documentary "The Center of the World," and Lowery Stokes Sims, the executive director of the Studio Museum in Harlem and a juror in the memorial design competition.
Members of the advisory committee include the historian Kenneth T. Jackson; Robert B. Tierney, the chairman of the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission; and J. Max Bond Jr., whose firm, Davis Brody Bond, is being considered as associate architect for the trade center memorial.
Five committee members lost relatives in the attacks. There are at least six downtown residents and two survivors of the 2001 attack, including Officer David Lim of the Port Authority Police Department, whose bomb-detection dog, Sirius, was killed. The Fire Department is represented by Salvatore Cassano, chief of operations; the Police Department by Paul J. Browne, a deputy commissioner and its chief spokesman.
Their discussion will almost certainly reflect larger, daunting and perhaps unanswerable questions: From whose perspective, and how many perspectives, should the story of 9/11 be told? To what audience? To what generation?
Kevin M. Rampe, the president of the development corporation, allowed that this panel might have a harder task than some earlier advisory committees convened by the corporation, since it will be dealing with specifics. For example, how many crushed and mangled fire engines, ambulances and police cars should go into the museum?
There will be only about 65,000 square feet of space. That is roughly equal to the space in the Robert Lehman Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and somewhat larger than the new Whole Foods store in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle.
For now, it is unclear whether the job of chronicling the events and forces around 9/11 will fall entirely to the Memorial Center, or whether there will be a related museum. That question is expected to be answered within a month, when the development corporation is to announce the institutions that may be involved with the cultural center and performing arts center planned at Fulton and Greenwich Streets.
The advisory committee has been given no timetable, Mr. Rampe said.
Some groups that have been critical of the development corporation's approach to preserving historical artifacts and structural remnants will be represented on the advisory committee. These include Mary Fetchet of the Coalition of 9/11 Families and Ken Lustbader of the Lower Manhattan Emergency Preservation Fund.
Michael Macko, whose father, William Macko, worked for the Port Authority at the trade center and was killed in the 1993 attack, was also appointed to the panel.
"I'm not going to be just representing the 1993 families," he said yesterday at St. Paul's Chapel. "I'll be thinking of all the family members."
Nevertheless, Mr. Macko is acutely aware that within the Memorial Center will be almost the exact spot where the truck bomb exploded 11 years ago. "It's only natural to consider utilizing that in some way," he said. "It's where my dad was killed. There's not a square foot in the world that's more important to me."