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To help guide visitors though the history of the site, Davis Brody Bond designed the museum around one central element dubbed “the Ribbon.” Envisioned as a gentle path, the Ribbon guides visitors down from the plaza to the bedrock level where the sheared base columns of the former Twin Towers lie. Towards the bottom of this descending path visitors will come upon one of the last standing emergency stairways —named the “Survivor’s Stairs”—used by hundreds to escape to safety on 9/11.

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Despite the enormity of the museum, most of the space was actually left empty to convey the absence of the building that was once there. However, several large pieces of the Twin Towers, like a 60-foot slurry wall designed to push against the force of the Hudson River,  still remain. Elsewhere, there is a 58-ton steel column dubbed the “Last Column.” This structure was removed ceremoniously on May 30th, 2002 to mark the official end of the nine-month Ground Zero recovery effort. Now the Last Column has returned to the WTC site as a lasting reminder of September 11th.

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The 9/11 Memorial Museum is now open from Monday through Friday, 9AM to 5PM. The admission fee is $24 for adults, $18 for seniors and veterans, $15 for children and free for 9/11 rescue and recovery workers with registration. Admission is free for all from 5PM to 8PM with last entry at 7PM.

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Images Courtesy of the 9/11 Memorial Museum/Photo by Jin Lee, Snøhetta and Zahner