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The State Museum’s significant collection of material from the World Trade Center and objects from the international response to the events of September 11, 2001, tell the story of that day and its aftermath.

The World Trade Center: Rescue, Recovery, Response details the history of the World Trade Center, the September 11 attacks, the rescue efforts, the evidence recovery operation at the Fresh Kills facility, and the public response to the September 11th events. The exhibition includes many objects, images, videos, and interactive stations documenting this tragic chapter in New York and America's history.

Rescue uses a timeline to trace the first 24 hours of September 11, 2001, and presents indelible images from that day. See the heavily damaged Engine 6 pumper, recovered New York Police Department and Fire Department objects, architectural remains, several battered flags, and a large steel column from floors 7–9 of the South Tower.

The Recovery section begins at Ground Zero with a dramatically damaged 20-foot high; 10-ton steel column from floors 71–73 of the WTC North Tower. The stories of the recovery operation at Fresh Kills are told through the many objects found in the mountains of debris, including material from the everyday life of the buildings, the steering wheel from a car, Observation Deck souvenirs, melted floppy discs, keys, and a crushed payphone. A large collection of firearms from WTC Building 6 are on exhibition along with several destroyed street lampposts, fire hydrants, and a destroyed elevator door from one of the World Trade Center towers.

The exhibition includes pieces of the airplanes that crashed into the WTC. The details of the crashes are shown through graphics and brought to stark reality by a portion of the wheel assembly from one of the planes, a piece of fuselage, and a steel beam with an embedded airplane piece.

The Response part of the exhibition highlights a selection of objects from the State Museum's collection of emotional material created in response to September 11, such as a portion of a preserved fence section covered with memorial flags, banners, photographs, and flowers located on Broadway at Liberty Street.

The World Trade Center: Rescue, Recovery, Response exhibition at the State Museum presents these and other objects from the Museum’s comprehensive collection. An intimate space shows changing films about the history of the Trade Center and the September 11 attacks. Four sound stations allow visitors to listen to audio pieces about the WTC, interviews with Police and FBI about Ground Zero, and the Fresh Kills Recovery Operation.