June 20, 2005
LMDC Chairman John C Whitehead said:
“Good afternoon. Thank you for joining us today. Recently, heartfelt concerns have been expressed about the cultural component of our collective project. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to correct some of the misconceptions recently aired so that we may once again join together to fulfill our solemn mission to rebuild the World Trade Center Site in an impartial and unified way.
Let me affirm what we all believe: The Memorial has always been, and will always be, the centerpiece, heart, and soul of our efforts. At six acres in size, it will be an appropriately prominent and moving memorial. The Memorial’s museum will be a powerful tribute, telling the stories of September 11th and February 26th – and most importantly, the lives of the loved ones we lost.
In addition to the Memorial and its museum, the cultural complex is the third element of our collective responsibility. Daniel Libeskind’s Master Plan for the World Trade Center Site envisioned a cultural complex as a buffer between the Memorial and commercial activities beyond, ensuring both the commemoration of loss and the celebration of life. Culture in no way replaces the Memorial, but rather serves as a fitting companion to it.
I have seen the struggle for freedom firsthand throughout my life. In World War II, I fought for freedom at Normandy. I served in President Reagan’s State Department and helped to ensure freedom’s spread around the world. And I saw freedom come under attack on September 11th. I believe that the World Trade Center Site is a fitting and appropriate place to honor and celebrate our nation’s core principle – to show the world our unity, resiliency, and resolve to preserve freedom in the wake of the attacks.
We remain committed to ensuring that our solemn and historic mission is fulfilled in a way that all Americans can be proud of.”
Memorial and Memorial Center
- The Memorial will be an appropriate, inspiring, preeminent component of the World Trade Center site that will occupy 6 acres.
- Together, the Memorial and the Memorial Center total more than half a million square feet – more than double the size of entire Cultural Center, which will be occupied not only by the International Freedom Center, but also the Visitor Center and the Drawing Center.
- As advocated eloquently by victims’ families, the Memorial’s enormous yet graceful twin voids ensure that future generations will know where the Towers stood, and the names surrounding the cascading pools will ensure that we never forget each individual life taken
- A contemplation room will provide a space for the remains of those lost and never identified, and an adjacent area will offer a private space for victims’ families.
- At ground level, the Memorial’s forest and clearing will provide a gathering place for reflection and healing.
- Construction will begin in early 2006, and will be completed by September 11, 2009 as the original schedule dictated.
- The Memorial Center will focus exclusively on the stories of September 11, 2001, and February 26, 1993. The program for the museum was developed by the family members, residents, preservations, and museum experts.
- It will occupy over 100,000 square feet.
- It will contain information about the lives of the loved ones we lost, and will convey the events of the day and the breathtaking, worldwide outpouring of support in the rescue and recovery efforts. The museum will also house a number of large scale and personal artifacts that will convey the story of what happened in 2001 and 1993.
- As advocated by victims’ families, the Memorial Center will provide access to the historic remnants of the site, including the bedrock of the Towers, the truncated box- beams of the Towers’ original columns, and the slurry wall that held back the Hudson River despite all odds.
- Exhibits will incorporate artifacts from the World Trade Center, showing the events in an authentic, respectful and human way.
- In April 2004, LMDC announced the formation of an advisory committee to make recommendations for the Memorial Center. This committee — consisting of victims' family members, residents, survivors, first responders, historians, preservationists, and curators — visited the WTC memorial site and met with many professionals to learn from their experience in creating exhibitions. The committee produced a set of Draft Recommendations for the Memorial Center that were released for public comment to the public and victims’ families and finalized in August of 2004.
- The actual content and programming within the walls of this museum are in preliminary conceptual stages, the LMDC looks forward to continuing our work with families as we move forward together.
The Cultural Center
- The Cultural Center is one of two cultural buildings on the World Trade Center site.
- The Cultural Center will house the Visitors Center to the World Trade Center site, the International Freedom Center and the Drawing Center.
- The entire Cultural Center will be less than 250,000 sq feet.
- Programming at the International Freedom Center and Drawing Center is in its very preliminary stages and no exhibitions have been set.
Selection Process for the Four Cultural Institutions at the WTC Site
- Beginning in early 2002, the LMDC held over a dozen large-scale public meetings on the future of the World Trade Center Site. The result of the public meetings and hundreds-of-thousands of public comments received via mail and email was clear, cultural facilities must be an integral part of rebuilding Lower Manhattan and the World Trade Center Site. In 2003, the LMDC embarked on a process to assess interest and select institutions for placement on the site. Public comments are on the LMDC web site
- In April of 2003, a plan was announced to invite cultural institutions from around the world to submit proposals and in late June of 2003 the international Invitation to Cultural Institutions (ICI) was issued. Throughout the summer, the LMDC engaged in public outreach including a July public forum specifically on the ICI and a series of seven community workshops throughout Lower Manhattan. The public outreach sessions helped measure public priorities and reactions to different cultural programming and inform the selection process. By the close of the ICI process in September of 2003, 113 responses had been received. From October 2003 through January 2004, an evaluation committee made up of representatives from the LMDC, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, and State Council on the Arts reviewed the 113 submissions and evaluated which responses would best fit the criteria for the World Trade Center site.
Consideration was given to public comments received during the ICI public forum held on July 28, 2003 and the comments at LMDC/City sponsored Neighborhood Workshops. Based on this work, the LMDC identified a short-list of institutions whose submissions were feasible and promising for developing the curatorial approach or content for the Memorial Center, and occupying a performing arts center and cultural buildings on the World Trade Center Site. These institutions were listed in a publicly released report. In June of 2004, the four institutions that were offered space at the World Trade Center site were announced at a large-scale press conference covered by hundreds of media outlets.