World Trade Center artifacts to become museum exhibits

Several hundred World Trade Center relics such as twisted steel beams, part of the North Tower antenna and an elevator motor will be lent to museums around the world or used in memorials after preservationists finish cleaning and cataloguing them.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the trade center owner, has provided $6 million for the archive project. Architects chose about 700 objects from the 1.6 million tons of debris created when the towers collapsed, and preservationists are cleaning and photographing the pieces inside a hangar at Kennedy International Airport.

Museums began requesting objects from the disaster shortly after it occurred.

“There are a lot of things that are very evocative of the life of the World Trade Center as it existed, and of course, a lot of material that documents the day of September 11,” Sarah Henry, vice president of programs for the City of New York, told the Associated Press. “The tremendous physical forces unleashed that day are frozen in time.”

One of the artifacts is a copy of the New York Times from June 23, 1969, that was stuffed inside a steel column. Members of the preservation team think a construction worker put it there when the towers were being built.

Other items include a 62-ton South Tower column, the last piece of steel standing after the collapse, five floor slabs compressed to a height of 3 feet, commuter train cars buried in the trade center basement, crushed cars and a firetruck.

Workers on the archive project will make a catalogue with pictures of each object, which will be numbered. Museum curators will then be able to search the catalogue for items they want to borrow and identify those items by number. Workers say they expect to catalogue all items within six months.