National September 11 Memorial & Museum

AV Technology Helps Explore 9/11 and Honor Victims
New York, NY

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The National September 11 Memorial & Museum is an educational institution honoring victims of both the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 1993 bombing. The historical exhibition uses artifacts, photographs, and media to explore the background leading up to the events and examines their aftermath and continuing global implications. Electrosonic provided the audio-visual systems for the museum, which is primarily located about 70-feet below ground in the footprints of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan.

The first exhibition visitors see as they enter the galleries is We Remember, which features recollections of people around the world as September 11, 2001, dawned. Six large, vertical screens are staggered down a 60-foot ramp; a portion of a world map is projected on each of the six screens, such that, at the top of the ramp it appears to be one cohesive map. Projectors with mirror mounts display the content, while 16 ceiling-mounted speakers recount, in multiple languages, where people were on that fateful day.

Foundation Hall

The Foundation Hall houses the well-known Last Column, a 36-foot steel piece from the Twin Towers. Two 55-inch touch screens run interactive software, allowing visitors to scroll up and down the full length of the column to see details of the signatures and mementoes on its sides. Eight interactive tables in the memorial exhibition enable visitors to scroll through the Wall of Faces or search for loved ones and access biographies and family photos.

Rebirth is based on time-lapse footage captured by filmmaker Jim Whitaker over the last 13 years on the site, from the clean-up to today’s rebuild. Seven projectors display the 11-minute video on three walls that surround visitors. The museum also has four education classrooms equipped with digital whiteboards, document cameras, video conferencing systems plus other standard features. Electrosonic also provided a full AV system for the multi-purpose Pavilion auditorium, an approximately 150-seat theater used to show videos throughout the day and available for hosting events from standard presentations to video conferences.


The project spanned several years so Electrosonic had to stay on top of evolving technology advances as equipment was specified and installed. Several exhibits required especially complex media systems, so Electrosonic created full-scale mock ups of about 70 percent of the exhibits. Ultimately, Electrosonic supplied approximately 100 media experiences, ranging from touch screen interactives, small theaters and displays to recording booths that enable visitors to record their own 9/11 stories.


Three control rooms service different areas of the museum with a total of 26 equipment racks The Pavilion auditorium has its own control room with two racks. Electrosonic is providing two on-site technicians to help keep the museum’s exhibits in good order.


The museum building was designed by Davis Brody Bond, LLP and the entry pavilion by Snøhetta. Exhibit designers included Thinc Design, Local Projects and Layman Design. Bob Haroutunian of PPI Consulting was the audio-visual systems designer, and Arup was the designer for the Pavilion Auditorium.


All photos by Jin Lee, except exterior photo by Amy Dreher.