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PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 8:38 pm    Post subject: HISTORIC “LAST COLUMN” AT THE WTC RECEIVES $200,000 GRANT
From Fri Dec 11, 2009 3:00 am to Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:59 am (included)
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Friday, December 11, 2009
Funding Will Help Preserve Dozens of Tributes That Blanketed the Massive Steel Column Recovered from Ground Zero.
The National September 11 Memorial & Museum today announced that it received a Save America’s Treasures grant totaling $200,000 to help preserve the iconic “Last Column” that will be on permanent display in the Museum at the World Trade Center site.
The massive steel column, which is 36-feet tall and weighs about 58 tons, was returned to the World Trade Center site on August 24 after spending several years in climate-controlled storage at Hangar 17 at JFK airport in Queens, New York. The “Last Column” was covered in tributes by members of the construction trades, rescue personnel and family members before being removed from the site in May 2002, marking the end of the nine-month recovery effort at Ground Zero. The column and the tributes, which include numerous 9/11 victims’ photographs, spray-painted inscriptions and missing person flyers, are deteriorating and in need of conservation.
“This funding will not only help restore and preserve a collection of tributes to 9/11 victims, but also protect an irreplaceable piece of this nation’s history,” Memorial President Joe Daniels said. “We want to ensure this American treasure will be here to share with the rest of the world. The ‘Last Column’ will stand as an enduring marker of the heroic rescue and recovery effort at Ground Zero.”
“I am proud to join my fellow New Yorkers as we preserve the 'Last Column' of the World Trade Center site for posterity,” said U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler, whose congressional district includes Ground Zero. “This potent symbol of 9/11 will become the centerpiece of the Museum and the embodiment of the heroism, bravery and humanity that arose from the ashes of the tragedy.”
“The ‘Last Column’ withstood tremendous destruction and served as a symbol of a nation’s resiliency,” Museum Director Alice M. Greenwald said. “We are working to protect more than rusted steel and fragile ephemera. We are conserving the spirit of generosity, unselfish acts of service, and protecting the memories of innocent lives lost.”
“The challenge is to preserve a visual balance between the authentic trauma inflicted on this artifact and the improvised nature of sentiments it absorbed while mitigating conditions that might compromise the object’s long-term survival,” Museum Chief Curator Jan Seidler Ramirez said.

Before its emotional return to the World Trade Center site in August, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey made extensive efforts to preserve the “Last Column.” The Column was stored in a climate-controlled chamber at Hangar 17, monitored by and maintained by the Art Preservation Services team. Beginning in 2004, each piece of duct-taped ephemera was catalogued, detached, and adhered to magnetic sheets. In order to prepare the Column for transfer, conservators detached 82 loose memorial items from its surface for temporary storage. Beginning this winter, funds from the Save America’s Treasure grant will enable the Museum and its team of project conservators to advance the restoration work, which will include continual physical care, condition assessment, and environmental monitoring of the Column within a custom-designed, climate-controlled enclosure that will protect it as architectural construction and space fit-out proceed.
The “Last Column” will be erected vertically in the Museum, set in front of a displayed portion of the original “slurry wall” – the retaining wall that remained standing on September 11, 2001, preventing the Hudson River from flooding the World Trade Center site. Visitors will be able to explore the multiple remembrances affixed to and inscribed on every area of the Column through a dynamic, electronic interface. The Museum is currently conducting an oral history project with the goal of recording memories shared by those who left tributes and inscriptions on the Column.
The Column was the first artifact to be moved from conservation at JFK Airport’s Hangar 17 to the Museum in order to continue with steel installation around the large piece. Steel installation is 90% complete.
Save America’s Treasures, a not-for-profit preservation organization, works to protect U.S. cultural treasures such as historic structures, American artifacts, works of art, maps and original documents. The Washington D.C.-based group partners include the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Park Service, and National Endowment for the Arts.
The National September 11 Memorial & Museum is the not-for-profit corporation created to oversee the design, raise the funds, and program and operate the Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center site. The Memorial & Museum will be located on eight of the 16 acres of the site.
The Memorial will remember and honor the nearly three thousand people who died in the horrific attacks of February 26, 1993, and September 11, 2001. The design, created by Michael Arad and Peter Walker, consists of two pools that reside in the footprints of the original Twin Towers, surrounded by a plaza of oak trees. The Arad/Walker design was selected in a design competition that included more than 5,000 entrants from 63 nations.
The Museum will display monumental artifacts associated with the events of September 11, while presenting intimate stories of loss, compassion, reckoning and recovery that are central to telling the story of September 11 and its aftermath. It will communicate key messages that embrace both the specificity and the universal implications of the events of 9/11; document the impact of those events on individual lives, as well as on local, national, and international communities; and explore the continuing significance of these events for our global community.
Donations can be made through and more information can be found at the Memorial & Museum’s website, www.national911memorial.org, or by calling 1-877-WTC-GIVE.
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National September 11 Memorial & Museum, Lynn Rasic/Michael Frazier, 212-312-8800

One Liberty Plaza, 20th Floor, New York, NY 10006 ║p (212) 312-8800 ║f (212) 227-7931
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