10 years after: Tales of 9/11 told by artifacts at the National Constitution Center

9-11 Display at National Constitution Center, Photo © National Constitution Center

The National Constitution Center commemorates the 10th anniversary of 9/11.  Join us. For more information, visit Philadelphia Unites on 9/11.

Objects have a powerful way of evoking memory and honoring the past. Here, at the National Constitution Center Center, we have several artifacts on display from September 11, 2001. Collected from the World Trade Center in the aftermath of the attacks, they tell just a few of the stories from that fateful day.

The artifacts below are on permanent display in our Main Exhibition or on loan as part of Spies, Traitor & Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America. This traveling exhibition, created by the International Spy Museum, is on display at the Center through January 8, 2012.


Artifact courtesy of the New-York Historical Society, Gift of Ronald Moser, Photo © National Constitution Center

Identification Badges: Following the 9/11 attacks, volunteers from across the country traveled to New York City to participate in the recovery operations. Louisville, Kentucky, police officer Ronald R. Moser, and his bomb-sniffing dogs, Ajax and Laika, worked for two months at Ground Zero and other emergency locations. They inspected deliveries of food and supplies to the rescue workers.

Location: Spies, Traitors & Saboteurs Exhibition


New York City Police Car Fragment: Artifact courtesy of the New-York Historical Society, Photo © National Constitution Center

New York City Police Car Fragment: This remnant of a New York City police car was recovered from the Fresh Kills Landfill, where the FBI sifted through twisted debris as part of its criminal investigation. More than 400 emergency workers, including 23 NYPD officers, were killed as they attempted to rescue victims and fight fires at the World Trade Center.

Location: Spies, Traitors & Saboteurs Exhibition


World Trade Center Debris: Collection of the National Constitution Center, Gift of the City of New York, Photo © National Constitution Center

World Trade Center Debris: This steel girder from one of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers was given to the National Constitution Center by the City of New York.

Location: Main Exhibition


Stairwell Sign: Artifact from the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center, Inc., Gift of Nancy D. Seliga, The Port Authority of NY & NJ, Photo © National Constitution Center

Stairwell Sign:This stairwell sign, from the 78th Floor of one of the Twin Towers, was recovered by New York Port Authority workers. Although 2,752 victims died in the attacks at the World Trade Center, thousands of people below the zones of impact were able to escape through the towers’ central stairwells.

Location: Spies, Traitors & Saboteurs Exhibition (artifact on view until September 16th)


Fragments of Planes: Artifact courtesy of the New York State Museum, Photo © National Constitution Center

Fragments of Planes: These fragments came from the planes that hit the World Trade Center. They were recovered from Fresh Kills Landfill by the FBI during their investigation of the attacks.

Location: Spies, Traitors & Saboteurs Exhibition

Sarah Winski is an Exhibit Developer at the National Constitution Center; she is currently at work on an exhibition about Prohibition.