SEPTEMBER 11
BEARING WITNESS TO HISTORY

Curator Stories

Michelle Delaney

Collections Manager, Photographic History Collection

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"We think of photographs as objects, not just as graphics..."
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"Collecting for September 11 has probably been the most important thing I've done..."
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"...why did the individual feel it was important to photograph?"

 

Shelly Foote

Assistant Chair, Division of Social History

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"...you kind of have to set that aside and think of it as a curator..."

 

William Yeingst

September 11 Collecting Curator
Museum Specialist, Division of Social History

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"...we're very interested in the kinds of everyday stuff that Americans have used..."
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"...objects that were there. . .witnesses to this larger event in American history."
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"Now the challenge is to find the larger context that this all fits in..."
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". . .we spent many many hours networking with individuals in various agencies to complete our job."
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"This was really a process of negotiation..."

 

Jim Gardner

Project Director, September 11: Bearing Witness to History
Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs

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"...we have had unusual cooperation"
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"...think about who we are and what our nation stands for."

 

Peter Liebhold

September 11 Collecting Curator
Museum Specialist, Division of the History of Technology

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"We sat down as a staff, almost like a family around the kitchen table..."
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"...we're much more comfortable collecting artifacts that are clearly historical..."
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"I thought it was really important to understand normalcy before September 11..."
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"...people were coming in from Japan to see that site and to leave offerings at the location..."
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"...it will be years before all of the artifacts that are important to this collection will be in the museum."
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"...we don't really know how people are going to react to these objects."
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"...as they become history rather than current event, we will be able to let the collections grow..."
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"It was a very consultative process..."

 

Marc Pachter

Acting Director, National Museum of American History

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"...suggested endurance of our nation..."

 

David Shayt

September 11 Collecting Curator
Museum Specialist, Division of Cultural History

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"What we are doing is building a collection for all time here"
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"Preservation for posterity, whose uses we can't even, or ought to imagine"
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"I see our collections like a tree or like a big bush"

 

Helena Wright

Curator of Graphic Arts, Division of Information Technology & Society

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"Objects are witness to the fact that something did exist in the past"
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"...the immediacy of this situation is quite unusual."

 


William Yeingst, September 11 Collecting Curator. Museum Specialist, Division of Social History
William Yeingst, September 11 Collecting Curator. Museum Specialist, Division of Social History