Moffett Library’s 9/11 exhibit informs students 20 years after tragedy

In remembrance of the September 11th terror attacks on the World Trade Center two decades ago, Moffett Library is hosting a visual exhibition of posters and memorabilia on the second floor titled, “September 11, 2001: The Day That Changed the World.”

The 9/11 exhibit sits on the second floor of Moffet Library, near the antique printing press
The 9/11 exhibit sits on the second floor of Moffet Library, near the antique printing press, Sept 14. (Colin Stevenson)

“The New York City 9/11 Museum provided the 14 posters, but the American Library Association is promoting the 20th anniversary series to educate students more in schools and libraries about 9/11,” Alissa Russell, Special Collections librarian, said. “Everything in the cabinet is from our Special Collections, and the posters are theirs – the 9/11 Museum’s.”

The Museum aims to educate and expand the knowledge of the 9/11 legacy to a younger generation. The exhibition presents the history of 9/11 and its origins. Students can see archival photographs of the wreckage at the twin towers and The Pentagon. Included in the posters is an image of a wristwatch worn by a passenger that was recovered from the crash site of Flight 93. The watch’s date still reads 11. The Museum centers the images to teach more about 9/11 beyond what younger students learned in school.

“It was definitely in school the first time I heard about 9/11. It didn’t effect me much as we keep hearing about it every year. As we grow up, I’ve learned more and more, like when you’re younger you don’t understand death and man-made disasters,” Kaitlyn Postell, biology freshman, said.

The poster exhibition portrays the lasting consequences of terrorism; how lives were changed. The posters also implores students to think critically about the attacks from a different perspective, and it helps students discover the historical changes it has had on our country.

“It’s a big anniversary. Like the title says, it changed the world. And younger students seem to have no recollection of it, so they don’t realize how the world shifted overnight,” Russell said.

The world did change that day. This exhibition strives to answer the question: how can younger students remember when they were too little or still not born to understand what happened that day? This exhibition also shines a light on why there was a line drawn and our U.S. intelligence shifted, from pre-9/11, and after 9/11. A new generation can explore the history that ignited the “War on Terror.”

“I’ve always been a history lover. My parents, because my mom is military, we always lived all over the world. I remember Pearl Harbor. I’ve always had that image in my head, the videos, but that was military. This [9/11] being civilians, it was shocking,” Russell said.

The 9/11 memorabilia in the display cabinet that is part of Moffett Library’s Special Collections, consists of the September 12, 2001 issue of the Wall Street Journal’s front page and a commemorative page from the Wai-Kun yearbook from 2002. Also included in the cabinet, is a People’s magazine spread with a picture of smoke billowing out from the south tower. The items tell stories through different media, but let us experience what it was like over the years.

“When I see pictures it’s like the Holocaust to me; its very sad. I hear people tell their stories when they were there, it’s very heart-wrenching, even though it was so long ago,” Postell said.

Inside the cabinet are a variety of objects available in the library including some DVDs. The popular book, “Falling Towers” by Jewel Parker Rhodes, is a well-known Young-Adult novel making headlines across the country because of the method used in describing the terror attacks to a younger generation. There is also a list from the librarian of recommended movies to stream about 9/11. The list includes “Worth” and “World Trade Center” both on Netflix. Other streaming movies recommended by Russell are “The Report” on Amazon Prime and “The Looming Tower” that’s on Hulu. The memorial exhibit was put together with a special touch by Russell and can be seen by everyone on campus.

“I have two family members that were in the military and my brother was deployed twice in Afghanistan and Iraq, so this memorial for 9/11 is kind of personal to me,” Russell said. “It feels like it was yesterday and it feels like it’s been 20 years, sometimes.”