The National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York officially opens its doors to the public on Wednesday, bringing to fruition the contentious project that has experienced numerous delays and funding debates.
A dedication ceremony for the museum was held last week, with President Obama and other prominent politicians, including former President Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton, in attendance.
On Wednesday, the general public was welcomed to the museum for the first time. The museum descends below ground level at the former World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan and features 110,000 square feet of space containing artifacts from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The cost of the museum and memorial -- the latter opened in 2011 -- is estimated to be $700 million. The site is expected to have annual operating costs of $63 million. Funding for the site has been a subject of much debate, with local politicians wrangling over how to share the bill. Some of the funding for the site has come from private sources.
General admission to the museum is $24, though admission is free for all visitors on Tuesday evenings from 5 to 8 p.m., with the last entry at 7 p.m. Visiting the memorial plaza is free.
One of the issues surrounding the museum is that it doesn't receive any federal, state or city funding for its annual operations. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg serves as the board chairman of the museum and has told reporters that he wants the museum to offer free general admission.
The museum was designed by the firm Davis Brody Bond, with an entry pavilion designed by the Norwegian firm Snohetta.