Foundation offers preview of 9/11 mobile museum

Associated PressAugust 25, 2013 

9/11-Mobile Museum

John Hodge, right, director of operations for the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Tower Foundation and Catherine Christman, spokesperson for the foundation, begin to organize some of the memorial artifacts from 911 that is housed in a mobile museum, Friday, Aug. 23, 2013 in Mooresville, N.C. The 53-foot, expandable trailer, which houses specially selected artifacts donated by New York firehouses, will travel all over the country. When stationary, the trailer will open into 1,000 square feet of space and offer a detailed look at what happened on Sept. 11.

T. ORTEGA GAINES — AP

— For more than a decade, Frank Siller has been trying to honor the memory of his brother, a New York firefighter killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

Along with family members, he created a foundation that not only remembers Stephen Siller’s legacy of helping others, but also builds homes for U.S. veterans who have lost multiple limbs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now the foundation is ready to roll out a mobile museum that will serve as a reminder of the sacrifice made that day by firefighters and by military members since then.

“It was a life-changing day for many Americans,” Siller said. “You remember where you were that day.”

But he’s worried that what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, is not being taught in the schools. That’s where the mobile museum comes in, said John Hodge, Siller’s cousin and director of operations for the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

The 53-foot, expandable trailer, which houses specially selected artifacts donated by New York firehouses, will travel all over the country. When stationary, the trailer will open into 1,000 square feet of space and offer a detailed look at what happened on Sept. 11.

The foundation last week offered an early look at the museum, which is being designed by Specialized Mobile Exhibits in Mooresville.

“We’re excited about this because we know that 9/11 by and large is just not being taught in the schools throughout the United States right now,” Hodge said. “It may be a little paragraph or a small mention in history books. But it didn’t happen that long ago and … we are concerned that people are starting to forget.”

Hodge and Siller began discussing the idea of creating a mobile exhibit about two years ago.

“We sat down first and put together the arc of the story. How we wanted to tell the story in that tight space,” he said. “We’re going to do it very visually. All the walls will have full-sized pictures, images, murals of what happened.”

As people enter the multimedia exhibit, they will see how the World Trade Center was built. And by the time they get to the middle of the museum, they will view a series of panels telling the story of what happened on Sept. 11. Then a section will show the aftermath and recovery in the days following the terrorist attack, which killed more than 2,700 people, including 343 New York firefighters. The last section of the exhibit will focus on Stephen Siller’s story.

Admission is free, but people can donate money at the end of the tour.

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