The following are questions that can be used as discussion guidance or homework prompts
One of the questions asked in the film by the museum team is “How could they [the terrorists] have done this to us?” Is this the appropriate question for the museum to focus on?
How should the aftermath of 9/11 be preserved? What would you have done if you were there gathering materials for the museum? Designing the museum? Should the design of the museum change?
Can truth and historical accuracy exist without opinion? Include evidence from history or your life, and reference or quote the movie.
“If there was not a dialogue, then we would have failed in our job.” Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?
Should the war on terror and the existence of Guantanamo be included in the museum? [Note: for more about Guantanamo, check out the film The Mauritanian and our panel with Mohamedou Salahi, who was falsely accused and sent to Guantanamo. Or check out the Prime Movie, The Report with Adam Driver about the falsifying of documents related to the CIA torture program].
Some of the people involved in the design of the 9/11 Museum wanted a “more narrow and subtle version of the story.” Why did they want this and is it appropriate for the Museum? Related quote: “It’s not about education. It’s about grievance.”
The museum curators tried to honor an event, teach an event, create a comprehensive reflection of our society, and create a tool to help us learn from our mistakes all at once. Is this possible. What should they have tried to do? Did they succeed and why? What are the problems with how the museum turned out?
Should there be a giftshop in the 9/11 Museum? Why or why not?
Homework assignment: Memorial or Museum? Why should it be one or the other? Include evidence from history or your life, and reference or quote from the movie.
Homework assignment: Bring in an artifact of a friend or relative that reminds them of their memory of 9/11. Interview the person and present it to the class to explain why it should or should not be in the museum. Please be respectful; remember that many people were personally affected by 9/11. If you cannot bring in an artifact, write about one that should have been included.
In-class writing assignment: Write about something that should be included in the museum and why you think it should be included.
Optional teacher guiding focus: encourage students to discuss how neutrality cannot exist in the telling of history. What is included, how it is written, where it is shown, and what is not included all are biases on their own. For instance, in The Outsider, two pieces of controversy were whether to even include the stories of people who the US bombed, and the history of Al Qaeda).
Optional teacher guiding focus: Talk to the class about the difference between history and historiography. How does that come into play with the making of the 9/11 Museum?
Companion movie: Watch Finding our Voices this September 11th or 12th, which interviews 9/11 Family Members, Iraq Protesters, and Soldiers regarding the war in Iraq. What would their reaction be to how the 9/11 Museum was built? Should more have been included about our reaction to 9/11 in the 9/11 Museum?