NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Students in Westchester County are getting a tour of a small 9/11 museum — no field trip required.
The mobile exhibit is parked outside the Albert Leonard Middle School in New Rochelle to educate students and their families and hopefully inspire them.
When it’s on the road it looks like a decorated former NASCAR transport vehicle. When it’s parked and unpacked it’s clear that it’s the 9/11 never forget mobile exhibit.
“It’s like all of these artifacts from the scene and it’s very cool to visit this in person,” 6th grader Alexander Silva told CBS2’s Elise Finch.
“I think it’s really cool that they have a transporting museum about a big event in history,” Joey Tatarka said.
The 53 foot tractor-trailer was commissioned by the Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers Foundation in 2013.
It transforms into a 1,000-square foot exhibit that educates people about September 11.
The purpose of the vehicle is to make sure that people never forget what happened on September 11, but organizers said in their travels they’re realizing that a lot of people know very little about what actually happened that day.
“Everybody should know about what happened on 9/11,” Devin Rafferty said.
“We travel the country building homes for the most catastrophically injured service members, so in the process of doing that, as you meet people and talk to them you begin to realize that they’re not learning a whole lot about it,” foundation CEO John Hodge said.
Principal John Barnes said his students are fortunate to get the opportunity, and they agreed.
“We’re only one of two schools in Westchester County able to receive the visit this year,” Barnes said.
“We learned about this earlier in class and to see it now was very exciting,” Brianne Baron said.
It costs roughly $10,000 a day to host the exhibit, so it’ soften underwritten or sponsored.
Wednesday’s event was sponsored by Joanne Foley Gross in honor of her brother Tom Foley — a firefighter killed on 9/11.
“Whenever you lose a loved one, you always want them remembered, so we were the same way,” she said, “We’re not the only family, but it’s healing, and it helps us to get by.”
Hodge said the goal is to inspire everyone who walks inside with stories of true American heroism, and to impact them so significantly that even if they weren’t born on September 11, 2001, they will never forget.
The exhibit is free and open to the public until 7 p.m. Wednesday, and again on Thursday from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. with torus lead by FDNY firefighters.