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.   (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.   (AP Photo/John Angelillo, Pool)
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