About Us

Association Mission

The September 11th Families’ Association supports victims of terrorism through communication, representation and peer support. Our mission is to unite the September 11th community, present evolving issues, and share resources for long-term recovery.

The September 11th Families’ Association (September 11th Widows’ and Victims’ Families’ Association is a registered 501c3 non profit corporation). 9/11 Tribute Center (Tribute WTC Visitor Center), is a project of the September 11th Families’ Association.

The 9/11 Tribute Center was created by the September 11th Families’ Association, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization incorporated in November 2001 by victims’ families. The 9/11 Tribute Center conveys an understanding of the humanity and community that was both lost and found in the aftermath of 9/11. Throughout the 9/11 Tribute Center, visitors are engaged in appreciating the scope and impact of the disaster as well as the enormous outpouring of compassion in response. By sharing with visitors the authentic experiences of those most affected by the events, exhibits and programs convey the courage, loss, heroism, and grief of those who responded to the tragedy.

Active recording, preserving and sharing of these experiences are central to the mission of the 9/11 Tribute Center. Participation in the Tribute volunteer program has had a documented impact on members of the 9/11 community; promoting an enhanced sense of healing, enhanced compassion and appreciation for their place as history keepers.

9/11 Tribute Center


The 9/11 Tribute Center opened on September 6, 2006, across the street from the World Trade Center site and next to FDNY Engine10/Ladder10 Firehouse. The 9/11 Tribute Center provides educational experiences for visitors and a central place for the 9/11 community to gather and share their personal 9/11 experiences with the public. The 9/11 Tribute Center was co-founded by Lee Ielpi, Board President and Jennifer Adams, Chief Executive Officer. Through walking tours, exhibitions, programs, and online resources, the 9/11 Tribute Center connects visitors with people who directly experienced the events of February 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001 — as family members who lost loved ones, survivors, Lower Manhattan residents and workers, rescue workers, civilian volunteers, police and firefighters. The 9/11 Tribute Center is frequented by local, national, and international visitors who make a pilgrimage to the World Trade Center site, eager to learn and connect with history. Over 3 million visitors have been personally welcomed and introduced to an extremely unique collection of stories that reveal diverse, personal perspectives.

The intimate galleries reveal the events and aftermath of 9/11 through thoughtfully composed films, objects, images and stories, sharing personal connections to the tragedy, the experience of survival and the power of rebuilding. Throughout the galleries, guides often share their 9/11 experiences with visitors.

  • World Trade Center Community – Gallery One

    Surrounded by the phenomenal view from the observation deck from the South Tower, discover the vitality of the iconic twin towers through a film composed of first-hand stories and personal photos lovingly shared by the people that worked there.

  • The Attacks – Gallery Two

    Multiple perspectives on the attacks, collapse, and the dust cloud are shared in stories and film as visitors interact with a “timeline” of artifacts, stories and images, from the February 26, 1993 bombing to the afternoon of September 11, 2001.

  • Recovery – Gallery Three

    Panoramic images, artifacts and a video portray the heart-wrenching rescue and recovery period and the importance of volunteers needed to accomplish this job.

  • Those Lost – Gallery Four

    A moving collection of portraits of victims of the attacks on 9/11 and 1993 as shared by their families. The meaningful work of many 9/11 family foundations are featured, emphasizing how this tragic event is also an opportunity to improve our world.

  • Hall of Healing

    Projects for peace, compassion and resiliency in response to the attacks include the work of 9/11 family foundations, tributes across the world and Sadako Sasaki’s powerful origami peace crane.

  • The Future – Gallery Five

    The changing skyline of Lower Manhattan welcomes the future with animations and stories about World Trade Center rebuilding. Through our visitor cards, people from around the world share their thoughts about the impact of 9/11. They share their hopes for the future and their roles as global citizens.

Learn more about 9/11 Tribute Center Galleries >>

9/11 Community Volunteers – Sharing Personal History

The 9/11 Tribute Center’s volunteer program draws from the entire 9/11 community: family members who lost loved ones, survivors, Lower Manhattan residents and workers, rescue workers, civilian volunteers, police and firefighters. Volunteers are trained to share their personal 9/11 experiences as walking tour and gallery guides. On daily public tours of the 9/11 Memorial, (6 – 8 per day), volunteers connect physical locations to specific events. Annually, 9/11 Tribute Center volunteers serve over 350,000 visitors on personal tours.

Learn more about volunteering with the 9/11 Tribute Center >>

Education Programs

Gallery Experiences with Guides

The 9/11 Tribute Center offers deeper educational experiences in the form of guided gallery experiences for students, grade 5 – 12. Long distance experiences with our guides are available through a SKYPE program. Annually over 20,000 students visit the 9/11 Tribute Center.

Learn more about bringing students to the 9/11 Tribute Center >>

Online Teaching Resources

Excellent resources for teachers and students are available on the 9/11 Tribute Center website.

September 11th Personal Stories of Transformation

September 11th Personal Stories of Transformation

September 11th Personal Stories of Transformation

September 11th: Personal Stories of Transformation is a complete toolkit for the classroom. Five-minute interactive videos engage students in stories of 10 people who channeled tragedy into healing and civic engagement.

There are eight five-minute video stories, featuring people who were deeply affected by the attacks of 9/11 and responded with humanitarian initiatives to strengthen their local and global communities. The compelling stories include a local high school principal, a survivor, 9/11 family members, first responders, a Muslim community member, and brothers of victims who created memorials in Pennsylvania and Virginia. Each video is accompanied by a range of teaching materials and resources.

Learn more about this free, online multimedia toolkit for teachers >>

Events & Programs

Annually the 9/11 Tribute Center offers a series of stimulating programs to the general public and the 9/11 Community. These programs highlight unique and personal perspectives on the attacks, the recovery, the rebuilding and the impact of 9/11 on the world that we live in. These events are offered for free to the general public.

Learn more about these events >>

9/11 Community Support

The September 11th Families’ Association supports victims of terrorism through communication, representation, and peer support. Our mission is to unite the 9/11 community, present evolving issues, and share resources for long-term recovery. The quarterly Tribute newsletter and websites provide consistent information and resources. The Association maintains one of the largest active databases including 5,000 immediate family members of victims who died at the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and in Shanksville, PA.

Sign up for the Newsletter >>

9/11: The World Speaks

9/11: The World Speaks

At the end of their visit to the 9/11 Tribute Center over 350,000 visitors have taken the opportunity to sit down, reflect and record their reflections about the meaning and impact of 9/11. These visitor cards have been collected and archived. these have been written by people visiting from over 120 countries and in 50 different languages.

9/11: The World Speaks, published by Lyons Press is a compilation of over 200 cards written by visitors from across the country and around the world after their visit through the 9/11 Tribute Center museum exhibitions. Written by children and adults in many of the world’s languages, the cards express our common humanity. In drawings and verse, in philosophical statements and personal recollections, people have shared their thoughts about the deeply felt impact of 9/11 on their lives.

Purchase it through our web store.

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  • 9/11 Families’ Association through the Years

    See the full archive of Newsletters here


    The September 11th Families’ Association (formerly the September 11th Widows and Victims Families’ Association) published its first newsletter, launching its ongoing role as an educational organization for the 9/11 community. It has continued to produce four newsletters every year of current events and updates.


    2005 volunteers start giving tours with Tribute. After a year, over two hundred guides were trained to lead visitors around the site while sharing their stories. Our guides express a sense of validation and healing when leading tours and treasure the opportunity to learn from each other. Today we offer about 40 tours per week.


    The 9/11 Tribute Center created over a dozen changing or traveling exhibits. In 2009 an exhibit about the USS NEW YORK was created. In 2011, the 9/11 Tribute Center adopted the USS NEW YORK and continues their relationship with the ship.

  • Board of Directors

    Lee Ielpi, President
    Howard Cash, Vice President
    Richard Kennedy, Treasurer
    Beth Dannhauser
    Tom Fontana
    William Goldfeder
    Laurence Levy
    Dan Nigro
    Marc Silberberg
    Paul Critchlow
    Joan Mastropaolo
    Debra Steinberg