Friday, January 24, 2014
Crain's reported that the 9/11 Museum will charge a $24 admission fee. This isn't a shock, and you can read the article about their reason (fee will fill a gap for operating). I fully support this approach, and it is completely justified (and needed). But, I do think there is a bigger implication. This approach and the way the Museum is being positioned clearly demonstrate that 9/11 has become monetized. On the surface, the Museum is about memory and mourning, but it has taken on a life as an economic force. The 9/11 Museum will have economic impact. You know this is part of the backroom discussions (it always was and will be). 9/11 will drive admission sales and gift shop sales. And restaurant sales and hotel overnights and taxi fares and so on. The Memorial already has this impact. The 9/11 Museum, through no fault of its own, has further developed 9/11 into a revenue generating force. In a way, this is a culmination of the material culture response that I relate through my collection here. Although the Museum will display objects related to the actual event, the Museum will also feature the material culture that developed around 9/11. And many of these items were tied directly to sales and consumerism, which I've highlighted here. Ironically, the 9/11 Museum's Gift Shop now perpetuates this phenomena. I always know that if I really want to look for new examples to add to my collection, I can always visit the 9/11 Gift Shop.