What to Read Next

Inside the Tech of the 9/11 Memorial Museum

September 10, 2014


Technology brought the world the news and horrifying images of the 9/11 attacks in 2001. One-third of the world watched the events unfold, live. Today, in the new 9/11 Memorial Museum, technology is being used to memorialize those lost in the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and the truck bomb attack on Feb. 26, 1993.

Exhibits in the memorial engage and include visitors with touchscreens, video recording booths, and projectors that allow each individual opinion to become part of the installation. 

The man behind the museum’s technological design is Jake Barton. His museum design firm, Local Projects, worked on the 9/11 Museum technology for eight years, conceptualizing and engineering more than 90 multimedia installations. 

Barton says, “This is a museum of visitor stories.” Yahoo’s David Pogue talked with him and got more of his insights into the museum and in particular the technology of four key installations in it:

The Last Column
This was the last and only standing column found in the rubble of the 9/11 aftermath. The remnant stands in the center of the museum’s foyer. A touchscreen wall identifies each marking on the column and the story behind it.

Timescape
A wall projects 9/11-related topical news: It gathers and aggregates news information from agencies across the globe, updated every night.

Reflecting on 9/11
In three audio/video recording booths, viewers answer questions that appear on a teleprompter. Their answers are edited and projected onto a digital projection screen.

Beam Signing
On this digital guestbook, visitors hand-write notes and where they are from onto a touchscreen. The notes appear within 30 seconds, overlaid on a world map projected onto a 24-foot screen.

Andrew Rothschild is a video producer at Yahoo.

You can email David Pogue here