Jan Ramirez on the National September 11 Memorial & Museum
21 Dec 2011
On October 20, 2011, The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage hosted a lecture and discussion with Jan Ramirez, Chief Curator and Director of Collections for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City. She spoke about the interpretive planning process for the museum. Her talk focused on how museum staff has made difficult curatorial choices while maintaining broad historical context and still being aware of the cultural impact the museum would have in the present.
Watch excerpts below from a Q&A with Jan Ramirez, conducted by Nicole Steinberg, Communications Specialist for The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.
About Jan Ramirez
In her role as chief curator and director of collections for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, Jan Ramirez herself in the personal stories of nearly 3,000 victims and a wide range of objects, sounds, and images that define the experience of that day and its aftermath. Previously she was vice president and director of the New York Historical Society’s museum, and she has held curatorial and research positions at the Museum of the City of New York, the Hudson River Museum of Westchester, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
September 11 is an event that shaped our lives. There might be an instinct to speak about that day with extreme reverence, or to omit certain details out of respect. How do you avoid making the subject matter seem untouchable?
Does the 9/11 Memorial Museum mostly speak to the stories of of people who were involved in the happenings in and around Ground Zero? Are there ways in which the museum plans to touch upon the stories of those who were not physically there?
How do you decide which donated objects from outside individuals find their way into the museum’s collection? How do you sort and navigate through those items?
What is it like to work on this project? After sifting through the objects, experiences, and stories of 9/11, what do you come away with at the end of the day?