Three months after the attacks of September 11, 2001, Congress officially charged the Smithsonian and the National Museum of American History with collecting and preserving artifacts that would tell the story of that day.
But where to start? If you were given the task, what objects would you collect?
Curators working at the attack sites were grappling with those questions. If they tried to collect the whole story, they would have quickly been overwhelmed. Instead they identified three points of focus to guide them: the attacks themselves, first responders, and the recovery efforts.