Stony Brook University is one of thirty locations hosting the “New York Remembers” Exhibit, a project organized by the State Museum meant to give New Yorkers across the state a place to honor the victims and heroes of the 9/11 attacks.
The exhibit in the Skylight Lobby of the Wang Center, open weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and weekends from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., includes artifacts from the World Trade Center site, a display of letters and notes for those that were considered missing and a timeline of events with carefully chosen images.
“Every artifact has some story embedded in it,” Mark Schaming, director of exhibitions and programs for the State Museum, said. “Objects are carriers of stories—powerful vessels, touchstones to a moment in history.”
The artifacts, all of which came from the New York State Museum’s collection, hold a specific significance to their location. For Stony Brook, the focus is on the story of commuters, he said.
A large flag frayed at the bottom that was draped over a fire engine during the recovery effort hangs over the reflective pool in the exhibit, just in front of a 35-foot timeline of the events and images. Also included is a panel from a Ladder 3 fire truck, keys from the World Trade Center and a triptych, a three-part panel used to barricade commuters from the rubble.
It took more than 100 people— curators, writers, designers, truckers, etc.— to organize and construct the exhibits, Schaming said, and such a sensitive project came with pressure.
“It’s not like anything we’ve done,” he said. Every image used in the timeline had to be carefully chosen and every piece of information had to be verified by three sources.
Each artifact was carefully handled, wrapped and transported in state vans and trucks from the State Museum in the capital to each location, and they will all be returned there once the exhibits close at the end of the month.
The State Museum has a collection of 2,000 artifacts, the largest in the nation, which the New York City Police Department, an FBI recovery team, 25 state and federal agencies and 14 private contractors inspected at the World Trade Center Recovery Operation at Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island. Only the artifacts that weren’t essential to the crime scene nor claimed as personal property, were transported to the museum.
“Stony Brook University is proud and honored to be selected by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, the New York State Museum, and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum as a host location for the ‘New York Remembers’ exhibition,” President Samuel Stanley said. “As home to the Long Island World Trade Center Medical Monitoring Program, under the direction of Dr. Benjamin Luft, we anticipate that the Stony Brook University location will hold a high level of interest with the many thousands of first responders who are being cared for under that program, their family members and all Long Islanders who want to view this moving memorial exhibit.”