The Small Things

From a tattered American flag to a bronze office key, a hunk of glass to an elevator sign for the 102nd floor, the most common objects can tell the most extraordinary stories. Opening today at 9 a.m. at the Aurora History Museum, 15051 East Alameda Parkway, September 11, 2001: The First 24 Hours is a traveling exhibit documenting the collapse of the World Trade Center through a variety of artifacts recovered from the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island.

According to curator of exhibits Matt Chasansky, "A lot of museums shy away from recent topics. However, we know this is a major time in our history, and we have a chance to really impact the way people view that history. [But] because this is such a recent event, we are not choosing a side. It's more like a document."

The exhibit is divided into three sections. Setting the tone is the 9/11 timeline once displayed at Ground Zero, along with text panels documenting the recovery effort. Next up are subtle artifacts ranging from a firefighter's Scott tank to aircraft fragments, chunks of building and WTC souvenirs. Finally, in a tribute to grief, human spirit and, ultimately, resilience, items left on the fence at Ground Zero are displayed, including pictures of people tagged with "missing since 9/11" and condolences written to the people of New York. Additionally, a podcast downloadable from the museum website tells the stories of a stockbroker, a retired firefighter and a transit authority worker on the tragic day. Admission is free. For more information, go to or call 303-739-6666.
July 3-Sept. 30, 2007

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Mark Dragotta