NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — National September 11 Memorial Museum officials say victims’ families will continue to be consulted regarding merchandise on sale in its gift shop.
Memorial Foundation President Joe Daniels tells the Wall Street Journal the museum will enlist more help of 9/11 family members who sit on the foundation’s board in vetting the products.
“Once the public starts coming in, you learn so much,” Daniels told the Wall Street Journal. “We in no way presume to get everything right. We will accept that criticism, absolutely.”
One item in particular that had been criticized has been removed from the museum store. It was a decorative ceramic platter in the shape of the United States, with heart symbols marking the spots where the hijacked planes struck on 9/11.
Other items being sold include coffee mugs, T-shirts and tote bags and there are plans to open a cafe at the site.
Some 9/11 family members, first responders and others have said they are upset about the gift shop because the museum is also where unidentified remains of 9/11 victims are housed.
“It’s a disgrace. The selling of trinkets is a disgrace,” Ted Stankewicz, a retired firefighter from Ladder 119, said earlier this month. “This is a place to honor people. Civilians passed away. Civil servants passed away. This is kind of sacred ground. This is not a money-maker. Shame on them.”
But others disagree.
“It’s not even about a gift,” said one Bronx resident. “It’s about the moment.”
“It’s not a gift shop on a grave site. It’s terrible to depict it that way,” said retired firefighter Ron Parker earlier this month. “It’s a bookstore with a great many heroes. There’s a great many stories about a great many heroes in that bookstore.”
Museum officials have argued that there are many memorials with gift shops, including Pearl Harbor, Oklahoma City and the Holocaust museum.
Daniels said the shop is needed to help support the museum’s operations. He says many visitors want to take home a keepsake to remember the experience.
He also said a donor event earlier this month was subdued and was mischaracterized as a festive, black-tie event and there was no alcohol or food served at the bedrock level of the museum.
Check Out These Other Stories From CBSNewYork.com:
- 10/22 CBS2 Saturday Morning Weather Headlines
- Hot Holiday Gifts Already In High Demand
- Ahead Of NJ High School Football Game, Rivals Pause To Honor Law Enforcement
- Woman Dies After Being Hit, Dragged By Bus In Lower Manhattan
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)