PHOTOS: Inside the 9/11 Memorial Museum

The museum at ground zero opens to families on Thursday and the public next week. These handout photos from the museum show the exhibits for the first time.

28 photos
Jin Lee
These steel tridents in the museum's entry pavilion once formed part of the exterior structural support of the east facade of the north tower. Welded to box columns at bedrock, 70 feet below street level, these branched from one column into three prongs at the fifth story.
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A view of the tridents from the atrium entrance.
Jin Lee
This piece of steel, once part of the facade of the north tower, was located at the point of impact where hijacked Flight 11 pierced the building from floors 93 through 99. A companion piece of facade steel from floors 93 through 96 is also displayed in the museum.
Jin Lee
The other piece of impact steel.
Jin Lee
Part of one of the hijacked jetliners
Jin Lee
An animation shows the paths taken by the hijacked planes
Jin Lee
Assigned to aid in the evacuation of civilians in the north tower on 9/11, members of FDNY Ladder Company 3 are known to have reached the 35th floor by 9:21 a.m. All 11 responding members of Ladder Company 3 were killed when the north tower collapsed at 10:28 a.m.
Jin Lee
The Vesey Street stairs, or Survivors’ Stairs, once connected the northern edge of the World Trade Center Plaza to the Vesey Street sidewalk below. On Sept. 11, the stairs and an adjacent escalator provided an unobstructed exit for hundreds seeking to escape.
Jin Lee
FDNY Engine Company 21 was dispatched to the World Trade Center after hijacked Flight 175 struck the south tower. The company’s truck was parked on Vesey Street under a pedestrian overpass, with the cab exposed. The front of the vehicle was damaged by flaming debris.
Larry Wagner/AP
Behind this wall is the repository where unidentified victims' remains are being stored. The letters of the quotation from Virgil’s “Aeneid” were forged out of remnant World Trade Center steel by New Mexico blacksmith Tom Joyce.
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Families of people who died visit the museum's hall of victim photos.
Jin Lee
This object known as a "composite" is a mass of building elements, including steel rebar, floor decking, pulverized drywall, carpeting, furniture and bits of paper, fused by heat and pressure into a compact piece. There are three known composites, this includes elements of approximately five floors from one building.
Jin Lee
When hijacked Flight 11 struck the north tower, it severed elevator cables and trapped hundreds of people above floor 93. Below the impact zone, most on floors lower than 92 were able to evacuate down the stairs.
Jin Lee
Part of the World Trade Center’s original foundation, this wall was built to keep the Hudson River from flooding the site by creating a bathtub-like enclosure of reinforced cement. At the time of the slurry wall’s construction, the engineering employed to create it was considered an innovative method for building sturdy reinforced concrete walls at sites close to water.
Jin Lee
Visitors can sign a message on touch screens below this piece of bent steel from the south tower, and the words will appear just below the slurry wall in a lighted display.
Jin Lee
Dust, ash and debris from the collapsed twin towers filled the interior of Chelsea Jeans, a retail store on Broadway near Fulton Street. Store owner David Cohen resolved to capture the moment in time by maintaining part of the store as it appeared after 9/11.
Jin Lee
A bicycle rack located on Vesey Street at the northern edge of the complex was shielded from the impact of cascading debris by 5 World Trade Center. In the aftermath of 9/11, only one owner stepped forward to claim his bicycle, still locked to the rack. The status of other owners and riders is unknown.
Jin Lee
This 19.8-foot fragment was about 1/20th of the 360-foot transmission tower atop the north tower. Six broadcast engineers affiliated with five television stations were working from offices on floors 104 and 110 of tower on 9/11. None of the engineers survived. Transmissions for most stations failed shortly after hijacked Flight 11 hit the building. All transmissions ceased by 10:28 a.m., when the tower collapsed.
Jin Lee
A box column at bedrock, 70 feet below street level, was once welded to the steel tridents to form structural support.
Jin Lee
Operating engineers used grappler claws to lift tangled steel and debris from the pile at ground zero. Spotters worked alongside them, scrutinizing each load for human remains during the cleanup that lasted months.
Jin Lee/Museum
Video of the debris cleanup is projected onto a steel trident.
Jin Lee
Jin Lee
The original model for the twin towers by Minoru Yamasaki
AFP/Getty Images
President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama, tour the museum with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Mayor Bloomberg. Obama and Bloomberg spoke at Thursday's dedication ceremony.
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Obama speaks at the dedication ceremony in the museum's Foundation Hall.
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Obama and Bloomberg view Ladder Company 3's truck in the museum. All 11 responding members of Ladder 3 were killed when the north tower collapsed at 10:28 a.m.
People gather on the plaza of the memorial to watch the telecast of the dedication ceremony taking place in the museum below ground.
Slawomir Chrzaszcz,
A view of the dedication ceremony in Foundation Hall.
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