Home Artifacts NYC Fire Museum 9/11 Exhibit Features Families of First Responders

NYC Fire Museum 9/11 Exhibit Features Families of First Responders


An exhibit honoring the families of fallen first responders opens at the New York City Fire Museum in Lower Manhattan in time for the 21st anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

The exhibition, titled “One Day in September”, is renowned Australian photographer Richard Wiesel’s first solo project in New York.

The moving black and white photographs feature portraits of first responders’ family members with corresponding short interviews.

“I photographed it in a very simple way – without distractions – so when you look or look at the image, you just see that person and are able to understand or share their experience so that they can comfort you if you ‘re going through your own stuff,” Wiesel said.

The families also provided Wiesel with artifacts to photograph, including a jacket worn by a firefighter as he ran to the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, and a tattered probationary firefighter patch.

“He tells people’s stories, and at the same time he shares people’s experiences with strangers they’ve never met before,” Wiesel said. “I really wanted to honor these people. I hope in some way that’s what we did, that’s what we’re doing.

Throughout 2019 and 2020, Wiesel interviewed family members of first responders and photographed them. “What amazed me was the strength of these people,” Wiesel said.

Richard Wiesel

Andrea Garbarini, who lost her FDNY lieutenant husband in the attacks, posed in a photo holding her fire helmet.

“That day and the many days that followed were a tragedy for this world,” Garbarini said. “I always say it was like a scar on the face of humanity.”

Lt. Charles Garbarini was one of 15 firefighters from Midtown’s Engine 54, Ladder 4 and Battalion 9 killed on 9/11.

The night shift at the fire station headed downtown toward the burning towers. Nobody came back. It was the fire station with the highest death toll in the city.

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“She says we have to learn from these tragedies and be open to the stories and we have to do better,” Wiesel said of Andrea Garbarani.

Photos on display at the NYC Fire Museum.

Wiesel, who has photographed artifacts found in Holocaust concentration camps, said he and his team often found themselves engrossed in the families’ accounts of the most devastating terrorist attack in American history.

“We got lost in these stories,” Wiesel said. “I found a lot of newfound humility. I always knew that when I talked to them, it would be a very strong moment.

Wiesel hopes the exhibit can travel across the country, as 9/11 was a “catalyst” and “a part of history that we should never forget.”

He remembers how he felt that day. “I remember watching it on TV and going, ‘Oh my God.’ I woke up my wife and said, ‘The world has changed.’ »

“It changed our lives, all of our lives – the way we travel, the way we live, what we do. It’s such an important part of American history and world history. These things should be respected, honored and honored.

The exhibit will be on view through October 2 at the museum at 278 Spring St. at Hudson Square in the Financial District.