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The 9/11 Gift Shop Sells Tacky Tchotchkes Because We'll Buy Them

The National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York
The National September 11 Memorial Museum in New YorkPhotograph by Justin Lane/Getty Images

This weekend, you’ll be able to visit the 9/11 memorial plaza without a pass, tour the museum, and buy a trinket to commemorate the experience. That last bit has provoked outrage from those who see the museum’s gift shop as crass commercialization of a national tragedy.

This is only the latest round of controversy to beset the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, whose organizers and designers have had to navigate an ocean of political and personal interests. By most measures, the museum, designed by Davis Brody Bond and Snøhetta, has met the difficult challenge of telling the emotionally charged story of 9/11 at Ground Zero. The gift shop, however, has detracted from the achievement, with tabloids and blogs lambasting the “darkness” hoodies, toy firetrucks, “survivor tree” earrings, and 9/11 cheese plate for sale in the gift shop.