When it opens at the World Trade Center site just a few months from now, the September 11th Museum will charge visitors a $24 admission charge, but museum officials said Friday that that could change if they get some help from elected officials. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
Officials gave a sneak peak Friday at some exhibits in the soon-to-open September 11th Memorial Museum, but many of the questions from reporters concerned the decision to charge $24 admission.
"I don't think it's too much," said Joe Daniels, president of the September 11th memorial.
Daniels said that in the absence of government funding, an admission cost was needed to help cover annual operating expenses of $63 million.
"This site is going to be one that is worth the expenditure," Daniels said.
Admission will be free in perpetuity for September 11th family members and recovery workers, and free for everyone on Tuesday evenings. There will also be no charge for children five and under, and discounts for youth and seniors.
Access to the memorial plaza, with its twin reflecting pools, will remain free. In fact, around the time the museum opens in May, fencing around the plaza will go away, along with the current ticketing system.
While the admission charge has drawn criticism, many family members of September 11th victims are understanding.
"You can't give everything away," said Charles W. Wolf, who lost his wife on September 11, 2001. "And if the situation is that they want lowered prices, people should write their congressman and senators and say, 'Federal government, ante up.'"
Mayor Bill de Blasio, too, says funding should be a federal, not city, priority.
"It was a national tragedy, and people come from all over the nation, all over the world to see it," he said. "So of course the federal government should play a role, and that's something we're working on."
Sen. Charles Schumer said he's pushing for federal funding, but acknowledged opposition.
"The federal government pays for other war memorial costs, like the Arizona in Pearl Harbor, and I think they should do it here," Schumer said.
Advance ticketing begins for the museum in March. Then, in mid-May, there will be a dedication ceremony, followed by a preview period, during which family members, first responders and recovery workers can attend for free before the museum opens to the general public.