Some family members of 9/11 victims are furious over the steep admission fee that's being proposed for the National September 11 Memorial Museum, set to open this fall. To help foot the $60 million annual cost of running the museum, City Council members are floating the idea of charging either a mandatory admission fee, or a "suggested donation," of up to $25. "I think it's very crude," says New York City Fire Department Deputy Chief Jim Riches, who lost his son in the attacks. Is this really such a bad idea?
Yes. This is profane and offensive: "We wanted a simple, beautiful memorial," says Sally Regenhard, who lost her son in the attacks, as quoted by Reuters. "What we have here is something the families never asked for." Charging an admission fee tarnishes what should be a sacred site. "This is not the Metropolitan Museum of Art," says Riches. "It's supposed to be a memorial."
"Some September 11 families angered by museum entry fee"
Well, someone has to pay for the museum: $60 million isn't going to generate itself, says museum president Joe Daniels, as quoted by the Daily News. "This will be a world-class museum, and it will absolutely need to generate revenue in line with other world-class institutions in New York City." Such fees are standard at "cultural meccas" in New York: The Met has long suggested donations and the Museum of Modern Art charges a mandatory $20 fee.
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Why are we surprised? "All financial transactions related to or based on 9/11 are gross," says Andrew Belonsky at Death + Taxes. "9/11 has become an industry," with profits being wrung from memorial medals ($56.95), anniversary pins ($13), and the "Never Forget" shirts and bumper stickers that were being hocked "within hours of the attacks." The rampant "9/11 profiteering" is just a "depressing truth about American culture."
"9/11 profiteering: All-American repugnancy"