The 9/11 museum in New York City will close its doors Wednesday, just weeks shy of the 21st anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks, due to financial struggles stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senior administrators told the New York Post that revenue loss from its pandemic closings in 2020 and 2021 had forced the shutdown.
“Two-thirds of our income revenue annually comes from our earned income from admissions,” said museum co-founder Jennifer Adams-Webb. “We were completely closed for six months in 2020. We had been averaging 300,000 visitors a year … and last year we had a total of 26,000 visitors, so it completely annihilated our earned income.”
“There’s no way we’re going to be able to dig out of this at this rate,” she continued. “We need the state or the city to step in with other partners to be able to say, ‘We value you. We want to save this organization,’ but at this point, we can’t continue to dig into a hole.”
The 2001 terrorist attacks, organized by Islamic extremist group Al-Qaeda, saw two hijacked planes hit the World Trade Center, causing both towers to collapse and inflicting thousands of casualties. The U.S. subsequently invaded Afghanistan to dislodge the extremist camps in the country and the Taliban regime harboring the Jihadis.
Twenty years later, the U.S. withdrew and the Taliban retook control of the country. Intelligence reports have since indicated that Al-Qaeda has resumed operations in Afghanistan.
The galleries in the Manhattan museum, which have received more than 5 million guests since they opened in 2006, will transfer most of their collections to the New York State Museum in Albany, the Post reported.
Adams-Webb lamented the museum's closing, but said it had made a significant contribution to the victims and the community over the years.
“We’re very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish, but... the place for the 9/11 community to come is not here. It’s a huge loss for those people who called this their second home, where they could come and share their story... There’s no museum that has the dual mission we have to support the community and also educate visitors that come here," she concluded.