The National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York will charge an admission fee of $24 for the museum when it opens later this year, the memorial’s board of trustees announced on Thursday.
According to reports, the price of the ticket was approved to support the museum's $63 million annual operating budget, as the institution lacks government funding. But, families of the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks will be able to visit the museum for free, while access to the memorial plaza, with its twin reflecting pools, will continue to be free for everyone.
“A general admission ticket of $24 will help fulfill our obligation to commemorate and preserve the history of 9/11. It will also enable educational programming that will teach the nature of and responsibility for the special freedoms we have,” Joe Daniels, the memorial’s president, reportedly said in a statement.
Daniels also said that there will be discounts for senior citizens, school groups and children. He added that the museum will be open for free every Tuesday evening for three hours.
“We feel very good about our operating model going forward,” Daniels reportedly said. “As much as we believe that the federal government should play a role in supporting this project, it would be irresponsible for us to count on that.”
Construction of both the memorial and the museum reportedly cost $700 million, and according to reports, Daniels said that the foundation still plans to seek federal funding.
However, some relatives of the victims of Sept. 11 have criticized the board's decision to charge a fee to visit the museum, The Washington Times reported.
Jim Riches, a retired fire chief who lost his son in the tragedy, told the Wall Street Journal that the decision to charge an entry fee was “disgraceful” and said that the federal government should completely fund the project.
“Middle-class families can’t afford $100 to go to the museum,” Riches told the Journal.
Bill Doyle, who lost his son on Sept. 11, told the Daily News: “I just can’t believe they would charge anyone,” adding: “The Vietnam, Pearl Harbor memorial have free admission. The economy isn’t that great, a lot of people are struggling.”
According to Daniels, advance ticket sales for the museum are expected to start in late March. The museum is slated for a mid-May opening.