David Shayt
September 11 Collecting Curator
Museum Specialist, Division of Cultural History

"What we are doing is building a collection for all time here"
What we are doing is building a collection for all time here. It's not something that we take lightly, so even a Barbie doll here is looked at with great scrutiny if it is offered to us. What messages, what stories does it tell? Does it have lasting value for the museum? Does it have research potential? Is it made well, so that it will endure over the decades and decades?

These same questions were asked of everything I did at the World Trade Center. Looking through piles of rubble, talking to policemen, asking co-workers and workers up there, “What have you seen lately?” Frankly we were offered many things that we declined... The criteria we had in mind was stories within stories, lasting physical value and authenticity.