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

"We sat down as a staff, almost like a family around the kitchen table..."
The notion of what to collect around September 11 was immediately a difficult problem for the museum. We sat down as a staff, almost like a family around the kitchen table and discussed the issue, and there were lots of differences of opinions. And in the end we decided to try to collect in our normal style; somebody that collects electrical things would collect the electrical aspects, people that collect buildings would do buildings.

But as time went on it became clear that that approach might leave some gaps and that this was too important a piece of American history to let those gaps happen. So instead we continued along the first approach of all the different folks in their different areas collecting, but we also assembled a team of people to really focus on the questions around September 11 and try to collect a full story--the material culture, the objects--that would represent and bear witness to the event.