NEW YORK (AP) — Over 300,000 people have visited the Sept. 11 museum since it opened little more than a month ago, exceeding expectations, officials said this week.
Organizers see it as a strong start for the ground zero museum, which had faced questions about its $24 ticket price. The attendance total has topped projections by about 5 percent since the institution opened to the public May 21 and to 9/11 survivors and victims' relatives six days earlier, President Joe Daniels said.
Joe Lock and his family had visited the World Trade Center on a trip from Fort Wayne, Indiana, a month before the 2001 terror attacks. On returning to New York this month, "this was one of the first things we wanted to see," he said as they left the National Sept. 11 Memorial Museum on Tuesday.
"It lets you heal a little bit," said Lock, 56, a lab manager.
Built amid the former World Trade Center's footprints, the underground museum was designed as a more historical, immersive complement to the memorial plaza and waterfall pools above. The museum includes profiles of the nearly 3,000 victims, recordings of survivors telling their stories, and artifacts ranging from a giant trade center column to shoes shed as people fled the burning towers.
Organizers have said they hope to draw 2.5 million visitors a year, and Daniels says they projected 1.5 million from its opening through the rest of 2014. The estimates vary month by month because of seasonal tourism patterns and the museum's newness, museum officials said.
"We feel great about the numbers," Daniels said by phone.
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