Exit through the gift shop: The tacky decorative cheese plate in the shape of the U.S., with hearts where the 9/11 attacks occurred, is no longer for sale at the National 9/11 Museum's gift shop.
After the backlash about whether some items were crass—like a "Darkness Hoodie" and rescue vests for dogs—museum officials insisted the items were necessary for revenue. But now they are doing an about-face.
Last week, during our eventful visit to the musuem, we noticed the cheese plate ("Never forget...to take your Lactaid"). Now, 9/11 memorial foundation president Joe Daniels told the Wall Street Journal that victims' families would be consulted about what items are sold, "Once the public starts coming in, you learn so much. We in no way presume to get everything right. We will accept that criticism, absolutely." He also said visitors wanted a souvenir to remind them of the visit. The WSJ offered some perspective from other museums:
Gene Caliwag, president of a nonprofit that runs a bookstore at the Pearl Harbor memorial in Hawaii, said the gifts his group sells must meet "the old red-face test: Would we be embarrassed by this thing?"
Kari Watkins, executive director of the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, said the opening of the 9/11 museum was bound to evoke a range of responses.
"There's no way you can please everyone all the time," she said, adding that the 9/11 museum store was tasteful overall, though the decorative platter did give her pause.
Also, the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum doesn't have a cafe.
Search-and-rescue dog plush, anyone?