Perimeter box columns from the World Trade Center, seen in the National Sept. 11 Memorial Museum in New York on June 27, 2013.
Bebeto Matthews—AP
March 24, 2014 10:14 AM EDT

A museum dedicated to the memory of those who died in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 will open to the public on May 21, officials announced Monday.

The five days before the public opening will be a dedication period, during which the museum will be open 24 hours a day so that families of the victims, survivors, rescue workers, and grieving first responders can visit the museum whenever they want. Organizers say the round-the-clock schedule is so they can accommodate mournful families, and is intended as a tribute to rescue and recovery personnel who worked around the clock in the aftermath of the attacks.

“We are honored that the first people to experience this Museum will be the men and women who came to our aid and protected us on 9/11, the families of the innocent victims killed that day, and the survivors who lived to tell the tale of an unimaginable horror so that we may learn from the past,” said former mayor and 9/11 memorial chair Michael Bloomberg. “Through its long commitment to educate future generations and to safeguard an important American history, building the Museum is in large part the answer to the violence of the 9/11 attacks. The stories of heroism, of valor and the unwavering spirit felt and witnessed on that day, and the ensuing months, will be told for years to come after the Museum’s doors open to visitors from around the world.”

Museum Director Alice Greenwald said the museum “provides a case study in how ordinary people acted in extraordinary circumstances, their acts of kindness, compassion, and generosity of spirit demonstrating the profoundly constructive effect we can have on each other’s lives by the choices we make, even in the face of unspeakable destruction.”

Tickets to the museum will be available March 26. Admission will be free on Tuesdays from 5 to 8pm, and will be always free for 9/11 families and rescue and recovery workers.

Write to Charlotte Alter at

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