SVA Faculty Help Shape 9/11 Museum

June 12, 2014

The much-anticipated opening of the National September 11 Memorial Museum last month has turned a spotlight on Lower Manhattan, with the museum drawing attention not only for its powerful content, but also for its innovative design and architectureLocal Projects, whose principal Jake Barton is an advisor in MFA Interaction Design, headed up the team responsible for the museum’s exhibition design.


The memorial exhibition, “In Memoriam,” commemorates the lives of those who perished on September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993 and provides visitors with the opportunity to learn about the victims of the attacks through portrait photographs, images of objects and audio remembrances by family, friends and coworkers, and personal artifacts.  One highlight is Timescapes, a digital installation that captures and displays online news feeds from 9/11 to the present according to a specially designed algorithm.

As Barton told Gizmodo in a recent interview, “I think this comes out of an overarching curiosity, if not fascination, with what news happened then, and what we—in the biggest sense of that word—were thinking at the time.” (Listen to a recent interview with Jake Barton online at

beyond425The museum’s permanent collection consists of  photographs, videotapes, voice messages, recovered property, clothing,  memorabilia, and original writings that illuminate people’s experiences during and after September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993.  One of the publications acquired by the museum is BFA Advertising and BFA Design faculty member Adrienne Leban’s monograph Beyond September 11: Mandalas and Meditations. The book features works Leban made in reflecting on 9/11.

“The purpose of the work is to situate the September 11 tragedy in context with other profound conflicts which arise from issues of difference—political, cultural, religious, ethnic, gender—all kinds,” she says. “I designed the mandalas to stimulate the experience of unity and wholeness while accepting the necessity of difference.”

Images:  National September 11 Memorial Museum, installation view, photo courtesy Local Projects; cover of Adrienne Leban’s book, Beyond September 11: Mandalas and Meditations.

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