Date:  Dec 11, 2008

Press Release Number:  148


Memorial & Museum and Project Rebirth Announce Partnership to Chronicle History of Rebuilding through Time-Lapse Film Available Online

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum and The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey today moved the historic Vesey Street Stair Remnant (known as the Survivors’ Stairs) to its final placement in the Memorial Museum site. The Stairs, which were used as a vital route to safety on the morning of September 11, 2001, were the first artifact moved to the Museum site when they were lowered to a temporary location at bedrock level in July 2008.

In partnership, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum and Project Rebirth today began offering a special opportunity for the public to view the historic rebuilding of the World Trade Center site through time-lapse footage available online. The new feature on will be updated regularly with multi-media material focused on different perspectives of the rebuilding progress and highlighting major events.

Memorial & Museum President Joe Daniels said, “This week’s tremendous construction is an outgrowth of so many people’s dedication and commitment to building the Memorial & Museum. The Survivors’ Stairs are now in their final position, becoming the first historic artifact moved into the Memorial Museum, while the ramp’s removal this weekend will allow the steel structure of the Memorial to continue to rise. The rebuilding itself is truly historic and the public can view this process through edited segments of Project Rebirth’s World Trade Center rebuilding documentary project, which will be posted regularly on our website.”

Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward said, “We've worked hard to make sure this important piece of the World Trade Center's history was safely delivered from street level to its final destination in the Memorial bedrock. Now we can continue the progress we've made to aggressively build the Memorial around it.”

Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “We're proud of our role alongside the Memorial Foundation in preserving this important piece of the site's history. Its move to a permanent home today will allow us to continue installation of steel and other work needed to meet our public commitments for building the Memorial.”

Early this morning, work crews began assembly and connection of the rigging of the structure, which stands 21-feet high; 64-feet long and weigh 57 tons. After connection, the Stairs were lifted by crane, set on a temporary mid-point location, and then re-rigged in order to prepare for a second lift. The Stairs were then moved for the final time 150 feet north in the Memorial quadrant for their permanent installation in the Museum.

The Survivors’ Stairs are the sole vestige above ground of the World Trade Center, a major 20th century architectural complex and engineering achievement credited with stabilizing and re-engineering the economic life of Lower Manhattan. The Stairs were used as a vital route to safety on the morning of September 11, 2001 and are an authentic artifact that bears witness to the events of September 11.

In late 2007, a resolution was reached as a result of collaboration among the Memorial & Museum, government agencies, preservationists, survivors, and the downtown community, to preserve the Stairs. Through this agreement, the full run and scope of the Stairs will be installed along the main stairway of descent in the Memorial Museum, allowing visitors to experience the artifact from the same perspective as the individuals who escaped on September 11. The preservation and placement of the Stairs will speak to the core message that we are all a part of what happened on 9/11.

After the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the subsequent rescue and recovery effort, the Survivors’ Stairs were declared one of the historic elements of the World Trade Center site. In 2004, a programmatic agreement signed by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the Lower Manhattan Emergency Preservation Fund, and various preservation and civic groups, ensured that all rebuilding projects over the next ten years preserve the surviving historic elements at the site. To that end, the Memorial & Museum and the Port Authority have worked closely with preservationists to ensure the best possible care and installation of the Stairs.

The Stairs have moved twice in 2008 in order to prepare them for final placement. The historic remnant originally weighed 175 tons and stood 22 feet tall. To prepare for the move, the concrete base of the Stairs was removed, reducing its total weight to 65 tons and an elaborate steel bracing and cradling system was installed. In March, the Stairs were moved to temporary storage near Vesey Street and in July, the massive structure was lowered to bedrock level.

The final move of the Stairs is taking place in a week of major construction milestones for the Memorial & Museum. On Saturday, December 13, removal of the 460-foot-long signature ramp that has allowed access to the World Trade Center site will begin. This progress will allow for steel installation to continue and the south side of the Memorial’s steel structure to be completed.

Given the ramp’s historical significance to the World Trade Center clean-up effort, the rebuilding, and 9/11 anniversary commemorations, the Memorial & Museum intends to preserve a section of the ramp as part of the Museum’s permanent collection.

In September 2008, the first steel columns for the Memorial & Museum were installed at the World Trade Center site. Steel erection has continued in the northeast corner of the north Memorial pool and the eastern side of the south Memorial pool.

Memorial & Museum and Project Rebirth to Chronicle History of Rebuilding through Time-Lapse Film Available Online

The Memorial & Museum and Project Rebirth, a chronicle of the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site and the lives of ten individuals coping with 9/11, today announced a joint effort to highlight WTC site rebuilding progress on the Memorial Museum’s web site. The partnership also includes the completed Project Rebirth film and footage as a signature resource in the Memorial Museum.

“Through poignant interviews and captivating construction footage, Project Rebirth offers a window into the emotional and physical rebuilding after 9/11,” Memorial Museum Director Alice M. Greenwald said. “We are excited to include this historical record in the Museum and to work with Project Rebirth in the coming years to ensure that this aspect of the 9/11 story is captured for future visitors.”

The new feature on will be updated regularly with multi-media material focused on different perspectives of the rebuilding process and highlighting major events in the progress. The first segment of time-lapse footage chronicles early stages of the rebuilding from March 2002 through late 2003. The segments are being produced in high-definition cinema-graphic quality and crafted by Hollywood filmmaker and founder of Project Rebirth Jim Whitaker, exclusively for the Memorial & Museum.

Project Rebirth Founder and Director Jim Whitaker said, “Since I first conceived of Project Rebirth shortly after 9/11, my ambition was for our film to be featured in a museum that would be located at the WTC site. With construction of the Memorial Museum underway, our partnership with the Memorial Museum remains fundamental to Rebirth’s core mission, and we are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to their programs for years to come.”

Project Rebirth’s historical record will be a signature resource in the Memorial Museum. The most extensive time-lapse project in history, Rebirth’s team of professional film makers are chronicling the WTC reconstru