Ed Linenthal, Kari Watkins – head of OK. City memorial- discuss how much horror to show at 9/11 museum

In conjunction with the story I wrote about The National September 11 Memorial Museum, the Times is running online forums to discuss some of the thorniest issues. The museum’s staff and advisers have painstakingly combed through the mammoth collection of artifacts, audio recordings, videos and photographs in choosing what to display. Many items capture all too clearly the gruesome horror of that day and museum officials have been constantly forced to decide what is appropriate material for a museum exhibition and what might be too upsetting for visitors to see. We asked a group of museum professionals and trauma experts to discuss, by e-mail, how to get the message and history across accurately without being gratuitously shocking. Kari F. Watkins, director of the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, started off the discussion. She has dealt with the same issues in her own institution, which commemorates the bombing of a federal office building by Timothy McVeigh, a white supremacist, that killed 168 children and adults on April 19, 1995. She has also frequently consulted with the staff of the Sept. 11 museum.

Join the debate.

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2 responses to “Ed Linenthal, Kari Watkins – head of OK. City memorial- discuss how much horror to show at 9/11 museum

  1. I think “commemorates the bombing” might be the wrong choice of words… This is what the Oklahoma City National Memorial’s mission statement says:

    “We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence.
    May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity.”

    To me, this is more focused on commemorating those who died and those who are still living with the heavy burden of this personal public tragedy, while giving context for what happened by also educating the public about the crime.

    But I think the commemoration is for the loved ones.

  2. Reblogged this on Working Sandbox and commented:
    I think “commemorates the bombing” might be the wrong choice of words… This is what the Oklahoma City National Memorial’s mission statement says:

    “We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence.
    May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity.”

    To me, this is more focused on commemorating those who died and those who are still living with the heavy burden of this personal public tragedy, while giving context for what happened by also educating the public about the crime.

    But I think the commemoration is for the loved ones.

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