9/11 was a devastating event that affected us all. Law enforcement took heroic action on that day to try to save lives – and in the days, months, and years after to prevent future attacks.
Since 9/11 law enforcement has come together – in partnership with other agencies, the private sector, and the general public – to help make us all safer. In response to the threats raised by 9/11, law enforcement has seen changes in the areas of intelligence collection and analysis, interagency partnerships and information sharing, technology and innovation, training and preparation, and community engagement.
The National Law Enforcement Museum will present a new exhibition to mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and honor the officers who rose to the challenge that day. This will be the first exhibition to focus on the significant changes to U.S. law enforcement that occurred in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
Visitors will first walk through the tragic events of that fateful day—anchored by objects from each of the three crash sites. Multi-media installations will then present visitors with a dramatic portrayal of September 11th created from some of the most iconic images captured during and after the events.
Informed by objects and stories from officers and their agencies, the exhibition will trace the evolution of the fight against international terrorism in the U.S. during the last 20 years.
A special memorial will be included within the exhibition recognizing the 72 fallen officers killed on September 11th as well as the 236 additional officers who have died as the direct result of illnesses contracted while working in the hazardous conditions at the World Trade Center. Each of these fallen hero’s images and names will be reproduced within an intimate space for visitors to remember their loved ones.
A series of programs will engage adult audiences with a broad range of topics that dive more in-depth into issues raised in the exhibition. K-12 education programs will engage students with the magnitude of the historical events and their connection to the history of American law enforcement. Programs begin in August and through December 2021. Topics, dates, and participants will be announced each month.
The traveling version of the exhibition is slated for 2022 and will be available for years to come. The traveling exhibition will be designed to be affordable and accessible to communities of all sizes. While there are no artifacts in the traveling exhibition, it will include the important images, content, and the names of all officers who died in the line of duty as a result of 9/11.
The traveling version of the original exhibition presented in Washington, DC, will serve as a way to generate local awareness of the changes to law enforcement that have resulted in keeping our nation safe. Hosts of the exhibit may create events and programs around the temporary installments.
Post – 9/11: The Evolution of American Law Enforcement is designed by the award-winning firms Quatrefoil & Associates and Capitol Museum Services in conjunction with Museum staff, and guest curator David Schanzer. Schanzer is Associate Professor in the School of Public Policy at Duke University and director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security, a research consortium between Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill and RTI International. Institutional partners such as the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, the FBI Experience, the Newseum, and the Flight 93 Memorial, are providing artifacts and personal effects of fallen officers found from all three crash sites which will accompany artifacts from the museum’s collection.
To fully articulate the unique and compelling stories of law enforcement, a focus group and a steering committee were formed at the onset of planning. The ongoing collaboration with these key stakeholders has helped to ensure an accurate and authentic account of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and the efforts that so many have played in fighting terrorism in the United States over the past two decades.
The companion to the exhibition will be a digital and print-on-demand catalogue that will provide visitors with original essays, excerpts of oral histories from 9/11 survivors and officers summaries of each section and significant artifacts, and acknowledgements to the exhibition’s sponsors and lending institutions.