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D.C. Museum Putting WTC Antenna In Storage Instead Of Giving It To 9/11 Museum


The top section of the antenna from the North Tower of the World Trade Center which had been on display at a Washington D.C. museum is being put in storage—instead of going to National 9/11 Memorial and Museum in Manhattan.

The 360-foot antenna carried the signal of most of New York City’s television broadcasters and a few radio stations, including WNYC. Since 2008, a section of it has been part of the Newseum’s September 11th exhibit, which also includes newspaper headlines and videos.

But the Newseum, whose mission was to “increase public understanding of the importance of a free press and the First Amendment,” is closing at the end of December due to ongoing financial issues. A spokesperson said artifacts on loan will be returned to owners, and pieces from its permanent collection—including the antenna—will be stored at their archive facility in the D.C. suburbs until a new home is determined.

However, when the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey donated that top section of the antenna in 2015, the agency specified that it, like all 9/11 objects they donated around the country,  must be displayed in a public place—which is why one piece is now at an outdoor museum in Ohio, and another section is at Fulton Community College near Albany.

The National 9/11 Memorial & Museum in Lower Manhattan would happily take it—and they’ve been pursuing its acquisition since 2014.  “An object like this that has so much symbolic resonance, it sort of logically falls into our kind of wheelhouse of collections,” said Jan Ramirez, the 9/11 Museum’s chief curator. “Honestly, we wanted it from the get-go. It just wasn’t available at the time.”

She said even though they have another section of the antenna, putting them together would add to the sense of history.

A spokesperson for the Newseum said the museum will start de-installing exhibits and moving them into storage after New Year’s Day.

Port Authority spokesperson Steve Coleman said he hopes it won’t be in storage for long. “We will work with them, other stakeholders, and continue conversations with the 9/11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center to find a suitable new location, for such an important and historic World Trade Center artifact,” he said.

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