9/11 Museum Changes Course to Incorporate Bin Laden Death

The builders of the 9/11 museum, which is set to open next year, are quickly changing course to incorporate the story of Osama bin Laden's death into the ground zero monument.

The killing of the al-Qaida leader will be included in the design, officials told NBC New York on Tuesday.

“We feel an obligation educationally and as a history museum to tell that story, to identify those who conceived and then executed this plan,” said Alice Greenwald, director of the museum.

Greenwald said the collaborative effort between the foundation, designers and several other groups on how to incorporate the story of the historic event must happen quickly. The museum, most of which will be seven stories below ground, is set to open in 2012; a separate street-level memorial to the victims is scheduled to open on Sept. 11 this year.

Most of the museum’s exhibition design is already finished and officials had hoped to start building the exhibits soon.
There will be no special wing for bin Laden artifacts and photographs, said Greenwald. The story of his death likely will be included in an area near the footprint of the North Tower.

Greenwald envisions the milestone presented either on a digital timeline or in the main historical section, which features audio recordings, artifacts and oral histories.

She does not expect the U.S. military will donate any artifacts from the raid on bin Laden’s Pakistan compound but hopes the video or audio recordings from the raid will be donated to the museum at some point.

“Everything we do is looked at through the lens of being at a memorial site,” said Greenwald.  “We include the story of the perpetrators not to elevate them, not for this to be the museum that profiles Osama bin Laden."

"They are in the story, in the role they assumed, which was murderers,” Greenwald added.

The new bin Laden chapter will not mark the end of the historical exhibition. The museum says it will be able to add new exhibits for any future 9/11-related events.

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