The widespread outpouring of emergency relief work in the wake of Hurricane Sandy has evoked memories of the city’s response to 9/11. Soon, some of that relief may be needed at the unfinished National September 11th Memorial Museum, which is 68 feet below the memorial plaza and is currently “flooded with at least five feet of water.”
The Times reports that several priceless 9/11 artifacts are at risk of significant water damage, including the fabled cross-shaped steel beam pulled from the wreckage of the World Trade Center, a damaged taxi, and a stairway from one of the towers.
It’s not known how many of the museum’s artifacts have been ruined. That tally will have to wait until the museum finishes pumping water out. But the Times speculates that “five feet of water would almost surely have touched, if not flooded, vitrines and display cases filled with the intimate and irreplaceable artifacts that have been donated, both spontaneously and in response to an acquisition campaign seeking photographs, videotapes, recovered property, clothing and other personal effects, workplace memorabilia, documents, letters, printed copies of e-mails, and diaries.”