The 9/11 Tribute Museum will shut down for good on Wednesday and will transition online after being unable to recover from financial losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Financial hardships including lost revenue caused by the pandemic prevents us from generating sufficient funding to continue to operate the physical museum,” Jennifer Adams, the co-founder and CEO of the museum, said in a statement, WNBC in New York reported.
The number of international tourists visiting the museum dropped massively during the pandemic, with annual admissions declining to 26,000 in 2021 from 150,000 in 2019. More than 5 million people have visited the museum since it opened in 2006.
The museum, which is on Greenwich Street and is separate from the 9/11 Memorial and Museum at ground zero, will resume providing educational resources and support for the 9/11 community through an online presence, according to officials, WABC in New York reported.
Additionally, stories of those impacted by the 9/11 attacks will be voiced through a video series offered online, according to WNBC.
The physical collection of artifacts at the museum is set to be transferred to the New York State Museum in Albany, while the Tribute Guided Walking Tour program will discontinue, according to WABC. The program was led by the museum’s 9/11 community, which included first responders, survivors and family members.
The museum, which was launched by widows of FDNY crews who died on September 11, 2001, opened its doors in 2006 to honor the victims of the attacks. The museum was founded as part of the non-profit September 11th Families’ Association.
The association in March said that shuttering the museum permanently was expected at some point due to declining revenues, WABC reported.
“My fear is that history will be lost. The next generation is not going to know what people saw,” Joan Mastropaolo, 9/11 Tribute Museum board member, said at the time. “For me as a member of the 9/11 community, it’s a very, very difficult decision [to close].”
More than 500,000 guided tours were carried out at the museum as visitors came from 141 countries.
“It’s unbelievable that something like this that gives back so much to the public is coming to an end,” Lieutenant Steven Casquarelli, FDNY (Ret.) and tour guide, told WABC in March.
Newsweek reached out to the September 11 Families’ Association for comment.
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