The Imperial War Museum is marking the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the USA, with a series of commemorative events.
This is the first time the museum has examined the events of 9/11, and its head of contemporary conflict Louise Skidmore hopes that the programme will help people understand its long lasting impact across the globe.
“As we mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11 we all started thinking about where we were on 9/11, what we were doing and most of us who were alive at the time remember it but we realised a lot of our audience members weren’t alive and don’t have memories of it,” Skidmore told LondonWorld.
“However the events of 9/11 have impacted all of our lives across the globe so we wanted to put together a programme of events and activities that would look at both the immediate but also the long term lasting impact across the globe.”
One of the highlights of the museum’s anniversary programme is Oscar-nominated German filmmaker Wim Wenders’ stunning photography exhibition Photographing Ground Zero.
The exhibition includes a number of haunting and powerful images that capture the scale of the devastation caused by the terror attacks.
It also looks at the huge rescue and recovery operation undertaken by the emergency services in the ensuing months.
Reflecting on what he witnessed in New York, Wenders said, “My panoramic camera captured this amazing message: something terrible, altogether infernal, has happened here.
“But please, let this not become a ground for more hate, let the lives that were taken here not become the reason for more bloodshed.
“Let this place be forever a symbol of peace and healing’.”
9/11: Twenty Years On will also feature a collection of objects, multimedia displays, photography and stories relating to 9/11 and other periods of contemporary conflict which occurred as a consequence.
A bonus episode of IWM Institute’s podcast series Conflict of Interest will also be available for download.
The episode will look at how the attacks of 9/11 have shaped the modern world and impacted our lives in countless ways.
The museum has also launched a programme called Global Stories, which is an effort to collect stories from around the globe of how people think their lives have been impacted by 9/11.
Skidmore explained how Covid impacted the museum’s preparations for this exhibition.
“These programmes can take many years to put together, given the current situation with Covid everything was a bit more last minute than usual,” she said.
“But we did start the end of last year thinking what are we going to do and how can we do something that can adjust to maybe being on site, maybe not being on site so we’re really thrilled that we’re able to go forward with the exhibition, but also we’ve got lots online for those that can’t make it on site.”
Almost 3,000 lives were claimed on September 11 2001, in the four targeted attacks carried out by Al-Qaeda.
Of those 246 were on the four hijacked planes, 2,606 were in the World Trade Centre and 125 were at the Pentagon.