9/11 Museum’s 20th-Anniversary Exhibitions Become Victims of Cuts

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tags: museums, 9/11, public history

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum in Lower Manhattan has dropped plans for special exhibitions commemorating the 20th anniversary of what was perhaps the most traumatic day in modern American history, museum officials said.

The reduction came after a severe budget crisis forced the nonprofit museum to make cuts that included furloughs and layoffs affecting around 60 percent of its staff.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, curators had discussed a large anniversary exhibition examining music’s role in uniting Americans after 9/11 and other tragedies, such as the Pulse nightclub shootings in Orlando, Fla. But when more than half of the exhibitions department was laid off, museum leaders shelved the project, according to three former department members.

A spokeswoman, Lee Cochran, said the decision was to focus on the “core museum experience” — the existing permanent exhibitions that drive attendance.

Administrators said that the layoffs and the elimination of special anniversary programming had been approved by the institution’s chairman, Michael R. Bloomberg, the former mayor.

“Leadership put together the best possible plan to navigate this extraordinarily challenging time,” Marc La Vorgna, a Bloomberg representative, said in a statement, adding that Bloomberg had personally donated $30 million to the museum and raised another $15 million for the institution during the pandemic.

“The Board supported and approved plans that were necessary to prevent this vitally important institution from suffering long-term harm, and to preserve its mission to remember and honor the victims of Sept. 11,” La Vorgna said.


Read entire article at New York Times

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