Sept. 11 Museum reopens to public after 6-month shutdown

NEW YORK (AP) — The 9/11 Memorial Museum opened to the public on Saturday for the first time since cultural institutions across New York City shut down six months ago to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

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The museum at the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan first reopened to family members only on Friday, the 19th anniversary of the terrorist attack that destroyed the trade center's twin towers, before welcoming the general public on Saturday.

Visitors have to wear masks, and only 25% of the museum's maximum capacity is permitted inside. The museum has always required timed entry tickets purchased in advance, which will continue.

"During our temporary closure we remained steadfast in our commitment to commemorate, educate, and inspire,” 9/11 Memorial & Museum CEO Alice Greenwald said in a statement Friday. “Today, we were honored to welcome the families of those who were killed 19 years ago, and we look forward to welcoming members of the public once again to pay tribute in person beginning tomorrow in a safe and sacred environment.”

Hours at the museum, where artifacts from the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks are displayed, will be restricted to five days a week, down from seven before the pandemic. The museum will now be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The memorial plaza with its twin pools where the towers stood is open seven days a week. The plaza is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and from noon to 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday.

The Brooklyn Museum, where an exhibit dedicated to the legendary nightclub Studio 54 was about to open when the virus hit, also reopened on Saturday for the first time since the coronavirus shutdown. Other New York City museums that have reopened with capacity limits and other COVID-19 restrictions include the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History.