A controversial cheese plate that was for sale at the gift shop of the newly opened 9/11 Memorial Museum in downtown Manhattan has been removed after intense media backlash, according to The Wall Street Journal.
In addition to stuffed dogs dressed in rescue vests and ornaments moulded from a leaf of the memorial tree, the gift shop had also offered a cheese plate in the shape of the continental U.S. The plate was a cream colour, save for three small hearts where the attacks hit the Twin Towers in NYC, the Pentagon, and the plane that crashed in Shanksville, Pa.
The memento was written about first by Gothamist in the wake of both The New York Post’s and The Washington Post’s intense scrutiny of the museum’s gift shop souvenirs. Most critiques centered around the overt commercialism of the items, in especially poor taste considering that the museum houses unidentified remains of victims and is at the site where nearly 3,000 people lost their lives.
“To care for the Memorial and Museum, our organisation relies on private fundraising, gracious donations and revenue from ticketing and carefully selected keepsake items for retail,” Michael Frazier, nonprofit 9/11 museum’s senior vice president of communications and digital media, said in a written statement to The Washington Post. “In fact, many of our guests from the 9/11 community have visited the shop and purchased a keepsake from their historic experience.”
The museum is now pulling the cheese plate, and the president of the memorial foundation, Joe Daniels, told The WSJ that the museum would try and vet products with the 9/11 family members who sit on the foundation’s board moving forward.
Many museums and memorial sites must find a balance between giving proper deference to their subject matter and making money to support operations.
The Pearl Harbor memorial in Hawaii, the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, which commemorates the 1995 bombing of a federal office building where 168 people were killed, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. all have their own souvenir gift shops.
Gene Caliwag, the president of the nonprofit that runs a bookstore at the Pearl Harbor memorial in Hawaii, told The WSJ that all gift shop items must pass “the old red-face test: Would we be embarrassed by this thing?”
The 9/11 Memorial gift shop is not the only issue that has brought scrutiny to the newly opened museum. It has also faced criticism for its planned “comfort food” cafe run by restaurateur Danny Meyer, which will serve wine and beer, as well as a recent donor reception that upset victims’ families.
NOW WATCH: Executive Life videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.