Religion in Museums

When museums and religion collide

The Sacred Objects of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum

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Mark Schaming is the director of the New York State Historical Museum in Albany. Soon after September 11, 2001, he organized an exhibition called “The World Trade Center,” the first such visual documentation of the terrorist attacks and their aftermath.

Much of the show’s impact was created through the display of everyday objects: keys, badges, a fire alarm, signs, and posters, along with piles of unrecognizable debris.

As the National September 11 Memorial and Museum opened this spring, Schaming was interviewed about the process of collecting and showing such highly charged objects. He remembered how in the earlier exhibition, “people would come in and cry in the gallery, just seeing the simplest object.”

Watch the interview on The New York Times website.


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