By JOSEPH SPECTOR
Gannett Albany Bureau Chief
ALBANY -- The state began shipping 9/11 artifacts across New York on Wednesday as it prepares to install exhibits to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
State workers started removing items for display from a hangar at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens to send to various parts of the state.
A damaged New York Port Authority SUV was headed to the Buffalo exhibit at Buffalo State College. An unmarked Port Authority police car was being shipped to Batavia, Genesee County, for display at City Hall. Two other damaged emergency vehicles were removed from the hangar and sent to Syracuse, where they will be displayed at Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology.
In all, about 350 historical artifacts from the World Trade Center site are being distributed to the 31 exhibits from the collections of the State Museum and National September 11 Memorial & Museum, the governor's office said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week announced the 9/11 exhibits to recognize the 10th anniversary and give communities a place to honor the victims and their families, as well as provide an educational tool. He announced 30 locations, but since added the State Fair in Syracuse.
"These exhibits are a way for New Yorkers to remember the innocent people killed in the terrorist attacks of 2001, to honor the first responders, and to educate a new generation about the history of 9/11," Cuomo said in a statement Wednesday.
"The stories told through these exhibits are powerful and will serve as a reminder of the strength and resiliency of our state and our country."
Communities said they are preparing special events around the exhibits, which are set open the week of Aug. 29 and continue until the end of September.
The Mahopac Library in Putnam County is planning its own display of 9/11 books and photos from local photographers to complement its state exhibit, said library director, Pat Kaufman. The library is getting a piece of the World Trade Center to display.
In Batavia, the city is preparing a ceremony on Sept. 11 with local leaders and residents.
"It's an opportunity for us to reflect on the past, but we're also proud to be able to be selected to show this exhibit for the community and the neighboring areas," said city manager Jason Molino.
The governor's office on Wednesday provided more details about the exhibits and what items are being sent to each site. Each will have a stand-up timeline of photos and history about the attacks, along with the display of artifacts and other items.
All the displays will be open to the public on Sept. 11.
The Rochester Museum and Science Center received a collection of items last week, including a crushed Port Authority Police Jeep, after they worked earlier with the State Museum for its own exhibit. It plans to open the exhibit Sept. 2 and keep it open through November.
Ithaca Mayor Carolyn Peterson said in a statement last week that she aided efforts to have an exhibit in the city. It will be located on the first floor of the Rothschild building, located at 215 The Commons. The city will be receiving a piece of a staircase from the World Trade Center.
Several colleges are prominently placing their state exhibits.
Rockland Community College will display a door from one of the fire trucks at ground zero. It holds an annual 9/11 ceremony, and the exhibit will add to the importance of the 10th anniversary event, said college spokeswoman Tzipora Reitman.
"We're very pleased that we got the artifacts to enhance our commemoration," she said.
Binghamton University lost 15 alumni in the 9/11 attacks and each year the school honors them at a Sept. 11 monument, said spokeswoman Gail Glover. This year the school is expanding the observances to include the exhibit, which will be located nearby and include a piece of a fire truck.
"We are hoping that members of our campus and local communities will take the time to visit the exhibition to remember not only our alumni but all of the victims of 9/11," Glover said.
Most communities said the exhibits will be available for public view when the buildings have their regular business hours, as well as special hours on Sept. 11. A piece of a New York City patrol car will be displayed as part of the exhibit at the Clemens Center in Elmira.
Dutchess Community College is being shipped a piece of aluminum from the World Trade Center and will have the exhibit displayed at Hudson Hall, its largest academy building. The college is planning a special ceremony on 9/11.
"We think it's wonderful not only for our students and our facility, but we also believe that it's wonderful for the greater community to come here to campus" to see the exhibit, said Judi Stokes, college spokeswoman.