9/11 Museum chief to get victims’ families opinions on gift shop, ditches cheese platter

By Daniel S Levine,

The National 9/11 Museum may have respected the families of victims and first responders when putting together the exhibits, but they apparently forgot to ask them about the souvenir hats and t-shirts being sold in the gift shop. After those and other items being sold were highlighted in the media, organizers are finally going to ask for the families’ thoughts on the gift shop.

Back on May 18, the New York Post published a scathing report about the items being sold there, like shirts, hats, earrings and even FDNY vests for dogs. There are even toys of FDNY trucks being sold for $14.99.

Many were especially angered, since the 9/11 museum is also home to a “remains repository,” where 8,000 unidentified body parts are being stored.

“To me, it’s the crassest, most insensitive thing to have a commercial enterprise at the place where my son died,” Diane Horning, whose son’s remains were never recovered, told the Post.

On Wednesday, memorial foundation president Joe Daniels told The Wall Street Journal that they are going to start seeking the advice from the 9/11 family members who are on the board when it comes to souvenirs at the gift shop. These ‘merchandise reviews’ will happen in the store so the families can see how they would be sold.

“Once the public starts coming in, you learn so much," Daniels told the WSJ. "We in no way presume to get everything right. We will accept that criticism, absolutely."

They have already made moves to remove one of the most criticized pieces of merchandise, a cheese serving platter that was in the shape of the contiguous U.S. that features images of the Twin Towers and hearts where the planes struck.

The gift shop can’t go away completely. Daniels said it is needed to help support the museum, which also charges $24 for adult admissions and $18 for students and seniors.

The museum opened last week to the public and was open only for victims’ families and first responders the week before. An opening night, black-tie party was also widely criticized. There have also been plans to include a cafe at the museum.

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