Artifacts and Space at WTC

Under the easily ignorable aegis of curating objects in the WTC interpretive museum, the NYT's David W. Dunlap touches on some of the most poignant and painful memories of the attacks--and the lives of people lost in it.

He leads with the kind of powerful, personal experience New Yorkers will recognize from that day: seeing a mundane object--a shoe on a rooftop, in Dunlap's case--in a terrible new way. He then explores creating the experience of visiting an emotionally resonant, historic space.

Dunlap repeatedly notes the emotional power inherent in specific space: "For those who remember the towers, just the sight of a simple metal [elevator] marker with the numeral "78" can summon a time when there was such a place in the sky." And another: "The epicenter of the Feb. 26, 1993, bombing just south of 1 World Trade Center at level B2 will correspond almost exactly to an area within the museum, suggesting where the story of that attack might be told. The memorial fountain installed over this spot in 1995 survives as a single red granite fragment."

In addition, Dunlap mentions Sound Portraits/Story Corps and other efforts to document the individual stories of those killed and those who survive; and the sensitivity needed to deal with personal artifacts like cellphones--and shoes.
Related: Spaces Made Sacred: My WTC Memorial Proposal
Jeff Jarvis's WTC Memorial proposal, which includes audio/video portraits of those lost.

Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

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first published: April 3, 2004.

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