A look inside the 9/11 Memorial Museum

September 6, 2013 3:04:25 PM PDT
It's not open until next year, but we're getting a look inside the National September 11th Memorial Museum.

Until now, we've mostly seen illustrations of what the museum will look like, but now the progress is visible, and some of the museum's most iconic artifacts.

Largely unseen behind its gleaming exterior, the 9/11 Museum opens into what officials believe will be a remarkable center of historic significance.

Work is on schedule and officials have their sights on opening the doors to world visitors in the spring of next year.

Taking journalists on a preview tour, officials reveal some of the larger exhibits of twisted steel from the fallen towers already in place, including what has come to be known as the survivors' staircase.

"They evacuated, they ran to safety," said Alice Greenwald, Director of the 9/11 Memorial Museum. "This was their artifact. This was the artifact that represented their flight to safety. You're literally following the path that people fled down on 9/11."

Greenwald also displayed some of the larger exhibits, including a trident piece of steel found in the recovery area.

"This piece of steel will actually serve as a projection surface," said Greenwald. "We tested it last week for film of recovery workers at the site, in the bucket brigades and you're listening to them share their memories of what it was like to work on the piles."

Many more exhibits will be smaller in scale, along with personal artifacts of those lost. But all with the goal, officials say, of educating, honoring and remembering.

"Construction is moving along really well, and I know that we will open this museum next spring," said the memorial's President, Joe Daniels. "We have to nail down the specific date, but are looking at late April or early May of next year."

The museum will reveal a vast historical perspective to those who lived through this horrific event and to those just learning about it.

"This was not a natural disaster or one moment in time, it's part of a larger history and it's our responsibility to share that," said Daniels.