MONMOUTH COUNTY – The Monmouth County Historical Association (MCHA) will be hosting an exhibit at the Taylor-Butler House in Middletown in honor of the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The vision of the Commemoration Exhibit is to remember members of the Monmouth County community who lost their lives that day.
The MCHA collects, preserves and interprets its extensive museum, research library and archival collections that relate to Monmouth County’s history and culture. They then make these resources available to the everyone in the pubic. The Association also promotes the study and appreciation of regional and national history through educational programming, publications, special exhibits, and research services.
The 9/11 Commemoration Exhibit will be the first historical display at the Taylor-Butler House. Melissa Ziobro, a Specialist Professor of Public History at Monmouth University, curated this exhibit by gathering oral histories, documents and ephemera from the community.
The project pays tribute to the strength and resiliency shown by the citizens of Monmouth County as they joined together to serve the nation, mourn and heal in the tragedy’s aftermath.
“We felt that we wouldn’t dwell too much on the actual event itself. We recognized that there will be people here who weren’t even born when this happened. We hoped there will be school aged children coming to this exhibit and becoming educated about what happened,” Linda Bricker, President of the MCHA, said. “But this exhibit is really about the aftermath of this tragedy. Actually, it’s about the promise and hope about this country and specifically about this county and if there was anything good that came out of this. The way people came forward in so many different ways and the strength that people showed and the resiliency that people had and how that mourned, healed, how they helped one another. That’s what we’re really showing through this exhibit.”
The exhibit will feature pictures and obituaries of all 147 Monmouth residents who passed, banners explaining how the county responded and what they’ve done to remember. Highlighted pieces include documents, pictures and artifacts, memorabilia from memorials, and pieces of steel and marble from the ground zero site.
“A lot of people were surprised at what they didn’t remember, and if they don’t remember it now then it’s not going to be any easier for us to remember details. We’re 20 years out and a lot of materials have been lost,” Bricker explained.
“Truly I have been very surprised about people struggling to remember details, struggling to find documentation, and I just feel that if we don’t capture this story now…I’m very grateful that we are doing this because this is an important story and it’s an important one to have in our archives. This is what we do, we gather stories. This is a difficult one. It’s made it so much richer with everybody sharing what they can from all of these different angles and we’re so appreciative of it,” Bricker said.
Guests will be able to talk to Ziobro and discuss their personal oral histories if they’d like to add to the archives.
“We are so proud to be able to present the exhibit, with its companion oral history project and film, for the 20th anniversary. It has been an honor to work with our advisory board, family members of the deceased, first responders and others. This is truly an exhibit about Monmouth County, for Monmouth County and by Monmouth County,” Ziobro said.
The 9/11 and It’s Aftermath, 20th Commemoration Exhibit, will open on September 11 and will remain open through November 11. Questions about the exhibit or for more information about the MCHA, visit monmouthhistory.org.