The end of the “Freedom Center Museum” at Ground Zero

posted by Mark Auslander on September 29th, 2005 at 7:59 pm

Given the issues we’ve been working through in this course, Governor Pataki’s decision, reported in the NY Times this morning, to scrap the Freedom Center Museum at Ground Zero in NYC is absolutely fascinating. I suppose one way of thinking about this is in terms of Greenblatt’s gem of an essay, “Resonance and Wonder” in which he distinguishes between two functions of the museum — emphasizing “resonance” (the interconnections and broader contexts in which a given work of art or displayed object may be understood) and “wonder” (the primary sense of awe inspired by the unique work of art, artifact, or natural element.) The proposed museum was geared towards “resonance” –placing, the Times reports, the events of 9-11 in the broader context of the global history for freedom. The families that opposed the museum appear not to have liked that idea at all, and to have been more geared towards a memorial that would emphasize “wonder” in Greenblatt’s sense. What other readings on museums and memorials might cast light on this –the latest chapter in the long, painful search for a satisfactory ’solution” to Ground Zero?

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