(May 19, 2014) – The 9/11 Museum was dedicated at Ground Zero this week as a tribute to the innocent people and heroes that were killed that day.
This heart-wrenching museum also has a gift shop. A gift shop that isn’t making very many people happy.
The gift shop offers a vast array of goods including FDNY, NYPD and Port Authority Police T-shirts ($22) and caps ($19.95); earrings molded from leaves and blossoms of downtown trees ($20 to $68); cop and firefighter charms by Pandora and other jewelers ($65); “United We Stand” blankets.
After paying $24 admission for adults, $18 for seniors and students, and $15 for kids 7 to 17, visitors can shop till they drop.
“To me, it’s the crassest, most insensitive thing to have a commercial enterprise at the place where my son died,” Diane Horning said.
She and husband Kurt never recovered the remains of their son Matthew, 26, a database administrator for Marsh & McLennan and aspiring guitarist.
“I think it’s a money-making venture to support inflated salaries, and they’re willing to do it over my son’s dead body.”
John Feal, a Ground Zero demolition supervisor who runs the FealGood Foundation for ailing 9/11 responders, said he understands the need to raise money for costs, including six-figure salaries for execs like CEO Joe Daniels, who takes in $378,000.
But Feal blasted the store’s opening Thursday, when only 9/11 relatives, rescuers and recovery workers were invited to visit. Those free visits will continue through Tuesday. The museum opens to the public Wednesday.
“These people are suffering, and they don’t need to be reaching into their pockets,” Feal said. “The museum could have gone six days without asking for money.”
The museum plans to fund its $63 million operating budget with admission fees and donations.
“All net proceeds from our sales are dedicated to developing and sustaining” the museum, reads a notice at the store and online, where items are also sold. “Thank you for helping to build a lasting place for remembrance, reflection, and learning for years to come.”