When the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approached in 2009, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey assembled an Archive Committee to collect, catalog and disseminate material recovered from the World Trade Center site. The collection reflected the range of victims of the attacks: broken eyeglasses and office supplies from those who worked in the buildings, crushed fire and police vehicles from those who raced in to save them.
But most of the collection was metal: 7,000 tons of steel from the Twin Towers themselves, stored in a hangar at JFK airport in Queens, New York. This trove became the raw material for a campaign of memorial-making. In a program that lasted until 2016, the Port Authority solicited requests for World Trade Center artifacts from fire and police departments, libraries, small-town museums, military and veteran organizations, and local governments, along with other interested groups.