Families Slam 'Crass' 9/11 Museum Gift Shop

Some visitors think memorial is no place to sell 'baubles'

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted May 19, 2014 5:21 AM CDT | Updated May 19, 2014 7:33 AM CDT

(Newser) – The National 9/11 Memorial and Museum opened last week to survivors, first responders, and relatives of victims—and some of them were shocked to find a gift shop on the premises hawking things like mugs, mousepads, and key chains. At the shop, which will help fund the museum's operating cost, visitors can buy a "Darkness Hoodie" printed with an image of the Twin Towers for $39, "Survivor Tree" earrings for $64, or silk scarves printed with 1986 photos of Manhattan for $95, the New York Post finds.

"To me, it's the crassest, most insensitive thing to have a commercial enterprise at the place where my son died," says Diane Horning, whose 26-year-old son's remains were never recovered. (Thousands of unidentified remains are in a repository in the museum building.) She calls the museum "essentially our tomb of the unknown," and slams the gift shop as "a money-making venture to support inflated salaries." Other visitors, however, say they understand the museum's need to raise funds, reports Gothamist, which notes that even the Holocaust Museum has a gift shop. NBC News reports that it's expected to take $63 million to operate the site each year, a cost that will also be defrayed by its $24 entry fee. (At the museum's dedication last week, the "man in the red bandana" was honored.)

President Obama speaks at the National September 11 Memorial Museum last week.
President Obama speaks at the National September 11 Memorial Museum last week.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
The last column recovered at the World Trade Center site was the centerpiece at the dedication ceremony for the National 9/11 Memorial Museum on May 15.
The last column recovered at the World Trade Center site was the centerpiece at the dedication ceremony for the National 9/11 Memorial Museum on May 15.   (AP Photo/John Angelillo, Pool)
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