Controversies past and present, at the 9/11 Museum, site of the anniversary memorial

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Controversies past and present, at the 9/11 Museum, site of the anniversary memorial

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum in Lower Manhattan, host of this morning’s ceremony, is no stranger to controversy, whether prior to its 2014 opening or in recent times.

This week, as they have done in previous years, local Muslim advocates called for the removal of one of the museum’s trustees, Debra Burlingame, calling some of her comments Islamophobic.

“Ms. Burlingame’s long history of making bigoted comments about Islam and Muslims is in stark contrast to the purpose of the 9/11 Museum,” said Aff Nasher, executive director of the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a major Muslim. Civil rights and advocacy group.

Ms. Burlingame, whose brother, Charles Burlingame, was killed when she was piloting the plane, American Airlines Flight 77, was hijacked and crashed on September 11 at the Pentagon, a mosque and cultural She was an outspoken critic of a lifelong plan of construction. Center two blocks from ground zero.

In another issue, museum officials recently announced that they were abandoning plans for special exhibitions scheduled for this year, contributing to the non-profit museum after a budget crunch during the coronavirus pandemic, and providing support for its staff. Trimmed off a large portion.

Then there was the flap on “The Outsider,” a documentary released this month about the museum that includes a scene depicting museum leaders in conflict over the creation of the exhibition’s stories.

Steven Rosenbaum, who co-directed the film with his wife, Pamela Yoder, said the museum demanded the removal of several sensitive scenes, said to be defamatory, which the couple declined.

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Mr Rosenbaum said the couple, who have now donated a vast collection of video footage to the museum in exchange for wider filming access, want the footage back because of the museum’s policies that govern the use of its archival material by historians and scholars. Huh.

A museum spokeswoman did not comment on the controversy and the message she had for Ms Burlingame was not returned.

Other controversial moves have been taken by the museum, including a decision to sell trinkets at its gift shop and to hold cocktail receptions for large donors within its immaculate walls.

After closing in 2020 during the pandemic, museum attendance has plummeted. It canceled plans for its annual Tribute in Light last year over social distancing concerns, but quickly reversed course and reinstated demonstrations after protests.

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