Now open, 9/11 museum sees influx of new artifacts

28 PHOTOS
9/11 Museum and Memorial
See Gallery
Now open, 9/11 museum sees influx of new artifacts
An opening panel showing a timeline of events seen during a press preview of the National September 11 Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center site May 14, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
(Photo: AOL/Lisa Kirshner)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 14: The salvaged tridents from the World Trade Center are viewed during a preview of the National September 11 Memorial Museum on May 14, 2014 in New York City. The long awaited museum will open to the public on May 21 following a six-day dedication period for 9/11 families, survivors, first responders ,workers, and local city residents. For the dedication period the doors to the museum will be open for 24-hours a day from May 15 through May 20. On Thursday President Barack Obama and the first lady will attend the dedication ceremony for the opening of the museum. While the construction of the museum has often been fraught with politics and controversy, the exhibitions and displays seek to pay tribute to the 2,983 victims of the 9/11 attacks and the 1993 bombing while also educating the public on the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
(Photo: AOL/Lisa Kirshner)
(Photo: AOL/Lisa Kirshner)
(Photo: AOL/Lisa Kirshner)
(Photo: AOL/Lisa Kirshner)
(Photo: AOL/Lisa Kirshner)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 21: The National 9/11 Flag is viewed at the 9/11 Museum where it is being displayed for the first time on May 21, 2015 in New York City. The National 9/11 Flag, an American flag recovered nearly destroyed from Ground Zero, was restored in 'stitching ceremonies' held across the country. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
A visitor walks past an exhibit at the National September 11 Museum in New York on February 10, 2015. The only Al-Qaeda plotter convicted over the 9/11 attacks has told American lawyers that members of the Saudi royal family donated millions of dollars to the terror group in the 1990s. French citizen Zacarias Moussaoui, dubbed the '20th hijacker,' made the revelations in court papers filed in a New York federal court by lawyers for victims of the attacks who accuse Saudi Arabia of supporting Al-Qaeda. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Visitors look at an exhibit at the National September 11 Museum in New York on February 10, 2015. The only Al-Qaeda plotter convicted over the 9/11 attacks has told American lawyers that members of the Saudi royal family donated millions of dollars to the terror group in the 1990s. French citizen Zacarias Moussaoui, dubbed the '20th hijacker,' made the revelations in court papers filed in a New York federal court by lawyers for victims of the attacks who accuse Saudi Arabia of supporting Al-Qaeda. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Visitors look at an exhibit at the National September 11 Museum in New York on February 10, 2015. The only Al-Qaeda plotter convicted over the 9/11 attacks has told American lawyers that members of the Saudi royal family donated millions of dollars to the terror group in the 1990s. French citizen Zacarias Moussaoui, dubbed the '20th hijacker,' made the revelations in court papers filed in a New York federal court by lawyers for victims of the attacks who accuse Saudi Arabia of supporting Al-Qaeda. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 25: People visit the National 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York, United States on May 25, 2014. The National 9/11 Memorial Museum was opened to the public for the first time on May 21, 2014 and telling the story of 9/11 through multimedia displays, archives, narratives and a collection of monumental and authentic artifacts. (Photo by Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 25: People visit the National 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York, United States on May 25, 2014. The National 9/11 Memorial Museum was opened to the public for the first time on May 21, 2014 and telling the story of 9/11 through multimedia displays, archives, narratives and a collection of monumental and authentic artifacts. (Photo by Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 15: A helmet worn by New York City Fire Department Captain Patrick John Brown on September 11, 2001 is displayed during a press preview of the National September 11 Memorial Museum at ground zero May 15, 2014 in New York City. The museum spans seven stories, mostly underground, and contains artifacts from the attack on the World Trade Center Towers on September 11, 2001 that include the 80-foot high tridents, the so-called 'Ground Zero Cross,' the destroyed remains of Company 21's New York Fire Department Engine as well as smaller items such as letter that fell from a hijacked plane and posters of missing loved ones projected onto the wall of the museum. The museum will open to the public on May 21. (Photo by James Keivom-Pool/Getty Images)
Remains of a New York City Fire Department Ladder Company 3 truck seen during a press preview of the National September 11 Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center site May 14, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
A sign in an exhibit about the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, seen during a press preview in the National September 11 Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center site May 14, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 14: Cards, patches and mementos of those killed at Ground Zero are are viewed during a preview of the National September 11 Memorial Museum on May 14, 2014 in New York City. The long awaited museum will open to the public on May 21 following a six-day dedication period for 9/11 families, survivors, first responders, workers, and local city residents. For the dedication period the doors to the museum will be open for 24-hours a day from May 15 through May 20. On Thursday President Barack Obama and the first lady will attend the dedication ceremony for the opening of the museum. While the construction of the museum has often been fraught with politics and controversy, the exhibitions and displays seek to pay tribute to the 2,983 victims of the 9/11 attacks and the 1993 bombing while also educating the public on the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
An American flag found at the World Trade Center site (below) and a photograph of a flag raising at the site by Thomas E. Franklin/The Record (Bergen County, New Jersey) (top), seen during a press preview of the National September 11 Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center site May 14, 2014 in New York. 'MANDATORY MENTION OF THE ARTIST UPON PUBLICATION' AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
An exhibit about the September 11, 2001 attack on the Pentagon, seen during a press preview of the National September 11 Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center site May 14, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 14: People tour the National September 11 Memorial Museum on May 14, 2014 in New York City. The long awaited museum will open to the public on May 21 following a six-day dedication period for 9/11 families, survivors, first responders, workers, and local city residents. For the dedication period the doors to the museum will be open for 24-hours a day from May 15 through May 20. On Thursday President Barack Obama and the first lady will attend the dedication ceremony for the opening of the museum. While the construction of the museum has often been fraught with politics and controversy, the exhibitions and displays seek to pay tribute to the 2,983 victims of the 9/11 attacks and the 1993 bombing while also educating the public on the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
A New York Fire Department ambulance, is seen during a press preview of the National September 11 Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center site May 14, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
(Photo: AOL/Lisa Kirshner)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: A photo of a victim of 9/11 terrorist attacks and red roses are seen on the September 11 memorial in New York, United States, on September 11, 2014. After the remembrance ceremony held for the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, September 11 memorial and 9/11 museum reopened to visit in New York. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
(Photo: AOL/Lisa Kirshner)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE


BY JENNIFER PELTZ

NEW YORK (AP) -- After seeing the new National September 11 Memorial Museum, one victim's widow decided to donate one of her husband's FDNY paramedic shirts, karate uniforms and beloved baseball jersey.

A retired police detective gave the sole-scorched boots she wore while working amid the smoking wreckage of the twin towers.

A survivor contributed her World Trade Center worker ID, dust-coated clothes and the high-heeled shoes she shed going down 87 flights of stairs to safety, items she'd kept boxed in a basement for 13 years.

"I didn't think that this would be anything they would want," said JoAnne "JoJo" Capestro, the finance worker who gave her clothing. "But once I went in there, and I saw, I said, 'My clothes belong there.' ... I wanted to share it with people. I wanted them to see."

Since the museum's May opening, victims' families, survivors, rescue workers and others have come forward to add about 135 new gifts to its collection, chief curator Jan Seidler Ramirez said.

Relatives have brought new photos or recorded new remembrances to profiles of the nearly 3,000 victims. Others have added to the wallets, helmets, and other personal effects in a collection that looks at the terrorist attacks through the lens of individual lives.

A Federal Aviation Administration worker's hard hat now speaks to his agency's contributions to the recovery effort. Commemorative golf balls from the delayed September 2001 Ryder Cup golf tournament help demonstrate how the world stood still after the attacks.

Two compelling reminders of the long manhunt that followed 9/11 went on display Sunday: a Navy SEAL's uniform shirt from the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, and a CIA officer's special coin commemorating the operation.

With the National Sept. 11 Memorial Museum now visibly "occupying, in real space, leadership of this important national story, when people have items, they want that to be a part of that," President Joe Daniels said.

The museum anticipated and welcomes growth in its collection of over 39,000 objects, photos and oral histories, and officials see the new donations as a vote of confidence. The institution trod a difficult path to opening, facing delays and controversy. Some victims' relatives still bitterly oppose it as more tourist attraction than tribute.

Some new donors to the Sept. 11 museum hadn't realized everyday possessions could be museum exhibits. Others weren't ready earlier to part with the artifacts or wanted to view the museum before entrusting it with cherished, if wrenching, mementoes.

Neil Matthew Dollard's relatives talked for years about donating the few possessions authorities found after the bond broker died at the trade center. But the family held off until visiting the museum.

"We were waiting to see what the museum looked like" and how it handled people's possessions, said one of his sisters, Megan Fajardo. Finding the displays tasteful, the relatives decided to contribute the items: his wallet, cards he carried, and pocket change.

"When we're gone, it needs to be somewhere where it can be seen, where it will be safe," Fajardo said. "That's where he died."

After getting home from the debris pile at ground zero after 9/11, Detective Carol Orazem peeled off her battered, hosed-down boots and eventually put them in the attic. There they stayed until she saw another first responder's awe at spotting his own helmet on display in the museum.

"What am I going to do with these boots? They're just sitting here, and they depress me to look at," the now-retired detective asked herself. Now, at the museum, "I know that they're taken care of."

Still, it was strangely hard to let go of her piece of Sept. 11 history, she says. So does Capestro.

"It was bittersweet," Capestro said, "but it makes me feel good.

"I feel like I'm giving back. Because God saved me that day."

---

Associated Press writer Rachelle Blidner contributed to this report.

---

Reach Jennifer Peltz on Twitter (at) jennpeltz

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.