The 9/11 terrorist attacks were one of the most tragic and tramautic events in living history. It’s now been more than 20 years since four passenger planes were hijacked by suicide attackers and crashed them into two New York skyscrapers and two further US sites.
The impact of that terrible day, however, still continues to be felt - not just in the United States, but also in the UK and around the world. Flight safety was tightened around the world, for example, in the years following 9/11.
Now, a tribute museum to 9/11 has now closed - although a larger memorial museum remains open.
So, what happened at 9/11, when was it, is the difference between the memorial museum and the tribute museum, and why has the tribute museum closed? Here’s everything you need to know.
What was 9/11?
The September 11 attacks, more commonly known as 9/11, took place in the United States. On that day, over 20 years ago, 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the US.
Two of the planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Almost 3,000 people were killed during the attacks. In total, 2,996 people were killed, including plane passengers, paramedics, police officers, firefighters and the 19 terrorist hijackers.
Within two hours of the two planes hitting the twin towers, both had collapsed - leaving almost another 10,000 people injured.
Osama bin Laden, who was behind 9/11, remained at large until May 2 2011, when he was found at a hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and killed by U.S. forces.
What year did 9/11 take place, and what time did the planes hit?
The 9/11 terror attacks happened on Tuesday, 11 September 2001. The first plane hit the north tower of the World Trade Centre at 8.45am ET (12.45am UK time). Then, 18 minutes later at 9.03am (1.03pm UK time) a second plane hit the south tower.
The third plane crashed into the west side of the Pentagon military headquarters at 9.45am (1.45pm UK time). The fourth plane went down into a rural field near Shanksville in western Pennsylvania at 10.10 am (2.10pm UK time).
What was the 9/11 museum?
The 9/11 tribute museum, formerly known as the 9/11 tribute centre, is a project of the September 11th Families’ Association - which was created by the widows and families of the Fire Department of New York.
It was created to give people the chance to learn information about the events of 9/11, including the unprecedented rescue and recovery operations and the rebuilding of both the physical area and people’s lives. The museum had videos, artefacts from those who experienced the events first hand.
Why did the 9/11 tribute museum close?
The 9/11 tribute museum closed its doors in August 2022. Jennifer Adams-Webb, a co-founder of the museum and CEO of the non-profit September 11th Families’ Association which helped start the museum, said the decision was made to close the museum for the final time on Wednesday 17 August.
She said this was because visitors had not returned since the coronavirus pandemic, and said that attendance has decreased from nearly 300,000 a year prior to a six-month closure in 2020 to a record low of 26,000 in 2021. She simply said: "The visitors just aren’t back.”
She also added that the only way the museum would have been able to stay open was with government support, but said it had been unable to secure that, despite months of conversations with the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and other offices.
The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs has not commented.
The museum plans to continue offering online educational resources and community support, but has stopped offering guided walking tours. You can access the online resources by visiting the 9/11 tribute museum website.
What is the difference between the 9/11 tribute museum and the 9/11 memorial museum?
The 9/11 memorial museum opened on the original World Trade Centre site in May 2014.
It was created to tell the story of the attacks through media and a collection of monumental and authentic artefacts, with the aim of helping visitors to understand of the continuing impact of 9/11 and terrorism on not only America but also the world.
It also serves as a place of connection for the survivors and the loved ones of the victims, and gives them a space to share their thoughts and feelings.
The main difference between the tribute museum and the larger nearby 9/11 memorial museum was her focus on first-hand stories from people who were directly affected, Adams said.
Among the volunteer tour leaders at the tribute museum, for example, was Peter Bitwinski, a worker for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey who was sitting at his desk in the World Trade Centre when the planes hit.
Bitwinski said leading the tours had continued to help him to heal.