8K tons of steel, 23K photos: National September 11 Museum by the numbers

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum opens with a ceremony Thursday in New York City, in the footprint of where the Twin Towers once stood. "It was very, very profound, very emotional — much more than I thought,'' former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani told Matt Lauer on TODAY Thursday of seeing it for the first time. 

"In some ways, it's harder now to relive it than it was a year later, two years later, three years later, maybe because you don't think about (the memories) as often and when they come back, they're more powerful." 

By the numbers, the sheer scale of the museum is breathtaking.

  • 110,000: Square feet of exhibition space in the museum, located in the heart of the World Trade Center site. 
  • $700 million: Cost of construction of the museum.
  • 23,000: Photos and images collected connected to Sept. 11 that line the walls of the museum. 
  • 10,300: Artifacts are on display, 2,380 of which were provided by donors to the museum. 
  • 500: Hours of video images can be seen.  
  • 1,970: Oral histories of Sept. 11 experiences collected and preserved. 
  • 8,151: Tons of structural steel used to construct the memorial and museum. 
  • 49,900: Cubic yards of concrete used in the construction. 
  • $60 million: Operating budget for the museum.  
  • 24: Hours a day the museum will be open for the next five days for families of victims, first responders and survivors.
  • 7: Stories below the North and South tower memorial pools where the museum is located. 
  • 20,000: Number of tickets that have already been sold for the coming months, reports NBC's Kate Snow.
  • Slideshow Photos

    Spencer Platt / Getty Images North America

    Image: New September 11th Memorial Museum Holds Preview For Media

    Inside the 9/11 Museum

    The National September 11 Memorial & Museum tell the stories of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the 2001 attacks and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, as well as of survivors and first responders.

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    Inside the 9/11 Museum -

    The entrance to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, center, is located between the two reflecting pools at the World Trade Center in New York.

    The Museum, to open May 21, will include exhibits that tell the stories of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the 2001 attacks and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, as well as of survivors and first responders. Museum Director Alice Greenwald said the museum is "about understanding our shared humanity," while former mayor Michael Bloomberg called it a reminder "that freedom is not free."

    AP / AP
  • Image: The salvaged tridents from the World Trade Center are seen in the National September 11 Memorial & Museum during a media preview in New York

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    Museum entrance -

    Huge steel tridents, salvaged from the facade of the North Tower of the fallen World Trade Center, lead visitors symbolically into the museum.

    Reuters / Reuters
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    Remembering -

    People visit the museum on May 14 under a stark sign that communicates a world of meaning by simply denoting a date.

    NBC News / NBC News
  • Image: A wall with a quote from Virgil and featuring 2,983 panels for each victim is seen in the National September 11 Memorial & Museum during a media preview in New York

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    Mosaic -

    A quote from Roman poet Virgil adorns a mosaic of nearly 3,000 blue tiles that signify the clear blue sky on the morning of 9/11.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • Image: Video images are displayed inside the National September 11 Memorial & Museum during a press preview in New York

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    Video history -

    Video images are displayed inside the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. There are 500 hours of moving images in the musuem.

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    Escape route -

    The “Survivors’ Stairs” were an escape route from the World Trade Center used by many people on 9/11. At the museum they have been installed alongside the final stretch of the ramp by which visitors make their way down to the exhibition galleries.

    AP / AP
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    Faces of the hijackers -

    Portraits of the al-Qaeda hijackers are displayed in the 9/11 Museum. The museum also provides a history lesson about Osama bin Laden and the hijackers who seized the jets on Sept. 11, 2001, as well as the attackers who previously bombed the World Trade Center in February 1993.

    AP / AP
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    Airplane parts -

    Pictured are fragments of the fuselage of Flight 11, which hit the World Trader Center. In all, 76 passengers and 11 crew members aboard American Airlines Flight 11, a Boeing 767, perished when the jet crashed into the North Tower at 8:46 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. And 51 passengers and nine crew members died when United Airlines Flight 175, also a 767, slammed into the South Tower at 9:03 a.m. Both flights had departed that morning from Logan International Airport in Boston and were on their way to Los Angeles when they were hijacked by al-Qaeda terrorists.

    AP / AP
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    Real reminders -

    Detail of objects found after the September 11, 2001 attack on the Pentagon.

    AFP - Getty Images / AFP - Getty Images
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    Twisted metal -

    Steel from the World Trader Center's North Tower, floors 97 and 98, in the 9/11 Museum.

    AP / AP
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    Firefighter gear -

    Helmets worn by New York City Fire Department Firefighter Christian Waugh on September 11, 2001.

    AFP - Getty Images / AFP - Getty Images
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    Ladder 3 -

    The remains of “Ladder 3." On the morning of the attacks, it carried 11 firefighters to the scene. All of them died in the collapse of the towers.

    AP / AP
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    Search for Osama -

    A sign tracking the time Osama bin Laden was at large is displayed.

    AP / AP
  • Image: Artifacts of the historical exhibition are seen inside the National September 11 Memorial & Museum during a press preview in New York

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    WTC signs -

    A pay telephone from the 107th floor South Tower Observation Deck and a signal from the below-ground PATH train station found in the wreckage at Ground Zero.

    Reuters / Reuters
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    Elevator remains -

    An elevator motor sits near a Ladder Company 3 fire truck that was destroyed when the North Tower collapsed.

    EPA / EPA
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    Frozen in time -

    Curators preserved the interior of Chelsea Jeans, including the ash-covered merchandise that owner David Cohen left undisturbed. The clothing store, which was located a block from the towers on Broadway near Fulton Street, became a makeshift shrine and a place of pilgrimage after the Sept. 11 attacks.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
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    Transmission tower -

    The twisted remains of a portion of the television transmission tower from the World Trade Center are displayed.

    AP / AP
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    Lost eyeglasses -

    A pair of eyeglasses and its case are reminders of how lives were changed that day.

    AFP - Getty Images / AFP - Getty Images
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    The Pentagon attack -

    A Port Authority of New York and New Jersey worker views a display of the attack on the Pentagon.

    AP / AP
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    Fire truck remains -

    The remains of New York City Fire Dept. truck from Engine Company 21.

    AP / AP
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    Bikes that survived -

    This salvaged bicycle rack was located on Vesey Street at the northern edge of the World Trade Center complex. It was shielded from the impact of cascading debris by 5 World Trade Center and left damaged but largely intact at the end of the day on September 11, 2001.

    AP / AP
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    Recovery artifact -

    A recovery mask used by a burn victim from the attacks.

    AP / AP
  • Image: Blessing memorial cards are seen in the historical exhibition section of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum during a press preview in New York

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    Prayers and mementoes -

    Prayer cards, patches and mementos of would-be rescuers who gave their lives at Ground Zero.

    Reuters / Reuters
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    Todd Beamer's watch and business card -

    The watch and business card of Todd Beamer, who was on Flight 93.

    NBC News / NBC News
  • Image: A message is seen on the bottom of the "Cross" which is displayed in The National September 11 Memorial and Museum under construction at the World Trade Center site in New York

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    Messages to loved ones -

    A message is seen on the bottom of the "Cross," intersecting steel beams found in the rubble of 6 World Trade Center.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • Image: Video images are displayed inside the National September 11 Memorial & Museum during a press preview in New York

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    After the first strike -

    A video image shows what the Twin Towers looked like after the first plane hit.

    Reuters / Reuters
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    Plume of ash -

    A photograph of one of the World Trade Center towers collapsing after the September 11, 2001 attack.

    AFP - Getty Images / AFP - Getty Images
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    The Last Column -

    The symbolic “Last Column,” a steel beam from one of the World Trade Center towers, stands near the slurry wall that held back the Hudson River from the site. The slurry walls formed “the bathtub,” a skewed rectangle with sides about 980 by 520 feet and as deep as seven stories. The wall withstood the forces of tons of collapsing debris and held in place, preventing the waters of the Hudson from flooding lower Manhattan and the PATH train tunnels after the attacks.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
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    Before the attacks -

    A photograph of what the World Trade Center twin towers looked like before the attacks.

    AFP - Getty Images / AFP - Getty Images


The museum opens to the public on May 21. 

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