Educating children and teens about the worst terrorist attack ever on American soil is an important yet challenging task. Educating without horrifying children was our goal at Ground Zero Museum Workshop; to act as a gentle segue for parents wishing for their kids to learn about the September 11 attacks at the World Trade Center. By staying away from footage of the morning of 9/11 and instead focusing on the heroic stories and people who made up the 9-month “Ground Zero Recovery” - GZMW has established itself as THE “kid-friendly” 9/11 Museum, hosting school groups visiting from right here in the United States to those visiting from far away countries like Singapore and England.
What makes us so special? To begin, our tour guides and staff care deeply about educating our groups about 9/11. It’s not just a “job” - it’s a passion. We are also unique in that we allow our school groups to pick up & hold actual WTC artifacts, such as steel from the buildings and rare window glass. They can study fuselage from the airliners from as close as a few inches away, pick up and hold crosses and Stars of David forged from steel beams and pick up actual Recovery worker’s digging tools in a friendly environment that breaks down the walls and “rules” of a typical museum setting. The ability for our younger guests to be so close to these artifacts as well as to hear recorded stories behind the images in their self-guided audio unit promotes healing and understanding of a major world event. We don’t just scratch the surface, we break through the surface and immerse our guests into the world of Ground Zero. Our museum takes things off of YouTube and makes it quite real for them.
Children as young as four years of age have sat transfixed by the stories in their self-guided audio tour units which contain 1 hour and twenty minutes of recorded content. The English version of the GZMW tour is narrated personally by Official Ground Zero Photographer Gary Marlon Suson, while the French, Italian and Spanish versions are narrated by the top foreign language voiceover talents in the Hollywood community. Heard faintly in the background of these recorded stories are actual audio clips from real video footage shot at Ground Zero in the Winter of 2001-2002. For example, if you hear in your audio unit a Chaplain saying prayer during the Honor Guard ceremony for a fallen hero, that is REAL audio lifted from rare video. Same goes for trucks digging, K-9’s barking and Sawzall saws cutting through metal rebar wire.
Some of the collection's images are presented in realistic 3-D Plexiglas installations to make you feel as if you “were there” on the front lines at Ground Zero. The result is the most realistic account of the “Recovery Period” in the world. Ground Zero Museum Workshop is known by the media as the “Biggest LITTLE Museum in New York” but don’t be fooled by it’s tiny size. There are enough stories and information here to fill up a museum TEN TIMES the size. Before you know it, two hours have flown by. GZMW has made Trip Advisor’s coveted “Top 25 Museums in the USA” list for two years running - in 2013 & 2014 - one of only three NYC museums to make this special list as the top 1% of all Museums in North America. We also have a 5-Star rating and won Two (2) Trip Advisor Traveler’s Choice Awards not to mention making USA Today’s “10BEST" List. Not bad for a museum that you can walk completely across in about 10 seconds.
Ground Zero Museum Workshop was inspired by curator Gary Marlon Suson’s visit to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, Holland which demonstrated that size need not be important when creating a special museum. Anne Frank’s room is quite tiny yet gets millions of visitors per year. The content, however small, has gigantic historical and emotional meaning. Our Museum experience and “what we do” has grown mostly by word-of-mouth by surprised visitors who walk into our tiny Museum dumbfounded by it’s size but leave with memories that last a lifetime. We have been pleasantly surprised by the reaction of children to the GZMW experience; they like the visceral, hands-on experience and have shown that they want more than a sterile “hands-off” atmosphere. Parents have reported that their children's most talked about experience while on their Manhattan vacation was Ground Zero Museum Workshop - and we are quite proud of that.
You may book a school group by emailing us at: GroundZeroTICKET@aol.com or calling us at 347.225.7779. We can handle groups of up to 30 at a time. Tours last anywhere from 90 minutes to 2 hours. They include a 12-minute video presentation, an interactive walk-thru and explanation of artifacts by your tour guide and finally the self-guided audio experience, which contain 100 stories behind the images & artifacts. There is an opportunity afterwards to purchase books, posters and other tasteful remembrance items. The Museum is located in Manhattan’s Meat-Packing District, steps away from the elevated High Line Park and one block away from the famed Chelsea Market - a great place to take your group for lunch.