The Market For Tragedy: 9/11 Museum Gift Shop
Right now you can buy a $110 talking Osama Bin Laden action figure on eBay if your heart so desires. If you don’t want to waste your money, you have the option to download for free the Super Columbine Massacre RPG video game; the game “delves into the morning of April 20th, 1999 and asks players to relive that day through the eyes of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.”
Yet, with these options available, some feel capitalizing on a tragedy or a touchy subject isn’t proper. The 911 Memorial at Ground Zero in New York tells the story of the 9/11 terror attacks with artifacts and displays, paying tribute to the lives of innocents and heroes lost that day.
They also have a gift shop.
The 9/11 museum offers a wide selection of souvenirs that include, but are not limited to: FDNY, NYPD and Port Authority Police T-shirts ($22) and caps ($19.95); earrings molded from leaves and blossoms of downtown trees ($20 to $68); police and firefighter charms by Pandora and other jewelers ($65); “United We Stand” blankets – you can even buy an FDNY vest for your dog.
Admission costs $24 for adults, $18 for seniors and students, and $15 for kids ages 7 to 17.
“To me, it’s the crassest, most insensitive thing to have a commercial enterprise at the place where my son died.” Diane Horning told the New York Post; her husband Kurt and her never recovered the remains of their son Matthew, 26, a database administrator for Marsh & McLennan.
Around 8,000 unidentified bodies lay buried in a “remains repository” in an underground home of the museum.
“Here is essentially our tomb of the unknown. To sell baubles I find quite shocking and repugnant,” Horning added.
“I think it’s a money-making venture to support inflated salaries, and they’re willing to do it over my son’s dead body.”
A sign outside of the shop, as well as a notice online reads that “All net proceeds from our sales are dedicated to developing and sustaining” the museum. Despite the gift shop raising controversy, there are other multiple avenues of which one can donate, volunteer, or become a member and get a 10% discount.
Among the donators, a plaque outside the store reads “made possible through the generosity of Paul Napoli and Marc Bern,” both partners in a law firm which garnered $200 million in taxpayer-funded fees and expenses after suing the city representing roughly 10,000 Ground Zero workers.
According to the museum’s website, the firm donated $5 million.