9/11 Museum To Charge $24 Entrance Fee

January 24, 2014       Patrick Sullivan      

The 9/11 Museum, part of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center (9/11 Memorial) in New York City, is slated to open in May. Its admission fee will be $24 and will be mandatory, except for three hours on Tuesdays.

Families affected by the attacks will not have to pay the museum’s entrance fee. Discounts will be available for seniors and New York City schools. Admission to the museum will be free every Tuesday between 5pm and 8pm. Communications manager Anthony Guido said the Museum is planning for 2.5 million visitors in its first 12 months, and believes the admission fee will cover between 60 and 70 percent of the operating budget.

The fee is on par with other New York City museums. The Museum of Modern Art charges $25 and The Whitney Museum of American Art is $20. The American Museum of Natural History has a suggested donation of $22 and the Metropolitan Museum of Art suggests $25. The American Folk Art Museum is free.

Joe Daniels, president of the 9/11 Memorial, said via a statement, “Following a decision made by the Board in April to ensure the organization’s financial health, the 9/11 Memorial will charge an admission to the Museum to help fund the necessary operational costs. The 9/11 Memorial does not yet receive government support for ongoing operations as many other important museums of our national history do.” The admission fee will provide operational revenue for both the Memorial and the Museum.

According to the 9/11 Memorial’s 2012 federal Form 990 (the latest available), the memorial’s revenue totaled $78,785,339, down about $3 million from 2011. Of that, nearly $50 million was from government contributions, all for construction, said Guido. Construction costs for the memorial and museum have reached $700 million. The operating budget for both the memorial and museum will be $63 million, said Guido, up from $41.6 million in 2012.

The memorial opened on the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people in New York City. Admission to the memorial is free. The museum sits underground, beneath the memorial, and will display more than 1,000 artifacts from the attacks, as well as photographs of victims, graphics panels and oral histories. The statement released by Daniels cites 11.5 million visitors to the memorial since it opened.

Government funding for operational costs would depend upon legislation. “We’re in the process of looking at that as the year goes on,” he said. “It’s something we’ll be talking about this year and we remain hopeful.” Should legislation pass, said Guido, “We’d look at increasing access, programs and educational opportunities, as well as increasing free hours.”

Pay for 9/11 Memorial executives came under scrutiny in 2012 when it was reported that a former employee received nearly $300,000 in severance. Joan Garner, former executive vice president of design and construction, earned a total of $439,463, including the severance, in 2010 after she left her position that May. Salaries and benefits totaled $14.1 million in 2012, up from $10.3 million the year before, according to the Form 990.