First responders and families of those who perished in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks will be among the first to see the 9/11 Memorial Museum when it opens in May, officials announced Monday.
The museum will open to the public on May 21 after a ceremony and six-day dedication period. During that time, May 15 to 20, the museum will remain open around the clock for survivors, 9/11 family members, rescue and recovery workers and lower Manhattan residents.
"It will be a tremendous privilege to walk the completed 9/11 Memorial Museum for the first time with those who are a part of this defining period of our nation's history," 9/11 Memorial president Joe Daniels said in a statement.
Divided into two main exhibitions, the museum will feature artifacts and stories tied to the 2001 and 1993 attacks on the World Trade Center, as well as explore the aftermath of a national tragedy.
The first exhibition, "In Memoriam," is a tribute to the 2,983 people killed by the Sept. 11 attacks and six who died in the 1993 truck bombing at the World Trade Center.
Spanning several floors at the center's bedrock foundations, a three-part historical exhibition will explore the day of the attacks, what led up to the terrorist strikes and the aftermath of a national tragedy.
The museum does more than facilitate learning about the attacks, director Alice Greenwald said in a statement.
"As much about 9/12 as it is about 9/11, the museum provides a case study in how ordinary people acted in extraordinary circumstances, their acts of kindness, compassion, and generosity of spirit demonstrating the profoundly constructive effect we can have on each other's lives by the choices we make, even in the face of unspeakable destruction," she said.
The city will move roughly 8,000 unidentified remains of 9/11 victims from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to the museum. The will be kept behind a wall inscribed with "No day shall erase you from the memory of time," a Virgil quote translated from "The Aeneid."
Only medical examiners and victims' relatives will be able to access the remains repository. DNA identifications will continue to be conducted in the repository, which will also have a visiting room for families.
Families, and first responders registered with the memorial, don't have to pay admission.
Most visitors will be charged $24 when the museum opens. Tickets will be available starting on Wednesday.