The 9/11 museum gift shop has sparked outrage in survivors and families of those who died in the attacks on that fateful day. Many are calling it distasteful, even sickening that the museum contains such a thing.
The museum is set to open this week, and is said to tell the stories of those who experienced the tragedy, and show how the city managed to pick itself back up and begin to heal. Visitors are expected to feel the grief that the city felt, the sorrow that came after accepting what had happened, and the sense of recovery that was found as people did their best to help each other get through the pain. Many New York residents do not feel as though having a gift shop in the museum achieves this level of comprehension.
The 9/11 museum gift shop that has sparked outrage boasts many souvenirs, including various clothing apparel, mugs, trinkets (key chains, etc) and bookmarks. Many feel that none of this merchandise is relevant to respecting the memory of the events that took place that day. Instead, those associated with the event feel that charging money for souvenirs of the horrendous attack is a cheap marketing ploy and exploits the grief of families and friends of the victims and survivors, using it a means of gaining money. These families and survivors are hurt that something that had such a powerful impact on their lives is now being abused in such a manner.
There are also many residents of New York who feel that there was no real reason to have an 9/11 museum in the first place. These individuals believe that those who were there on the day of the attacks certainly do not need a museum to remind them of the horror that ensued. If anything, having the museum in the city makes it more difficult for these people to move on and gain closure with what happened when there is such a large focus on the museum and reliving what happened. Locals are of the opinion that the 9/11 museum does not seem to be much more than a tourist attraction, and the gift shop does not make the situation look much better. Those who were around for the incident feel as though it belittles their experience to have people who could not even begin to fathom the horrifying reality of what happened that day coming into the museum, snapping pictures and buying memorabilia of something that does not mean much more to them than a story to tell people back home.
There are, of course, some that feel the 9/11 museum is beneficial to the city and to survivors and families of those who experienced the tragedy. They feel that because the museum is funded through admission fees and sales, that it is not really doing any harm. They believe that allowing visitors to purchase items commemorating their tour of the museum will help them remember what they learned about that historic event.
Despite the fact that the idea of a 9/11 museum gift shop has sparked outrage, the shop will continue to remain a part of the museum when it opens on May 21, 2014. It remains to be seen whether those who visit the museum will ultimately share this view.
By Rebecca Grace