OKC National Memorial and Museum Attracts Millions
The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum opened in 2001.
The memorial has attracted more than 1.5 million visitors.
It's rare to find the images of the day of the bombing in the gift shop, the ones that are for sale are carefully selected, especially since part of it caters to children.
By Charles Bassett, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The site of the Murrah Bombing is part of the National Park Service. While honoring the victims it's also designed to attract tourists.
Since it opened in 2001 the bombing memorial has attracted more than 1.5 million visitors. Both visitors and promoters whose job it is to lure them say it's a fine line they have to walk when dealing with the site.
Every day people come to the Oklahoma City National Memorial to learn about what happened and to see it first-hand.
"It makes me feel kind of sad because it was a terrible day, but it makes me kind of happy because so many people volunteered to help with taking the rubble and creating this memorial," Oklahoma City National Memorial visitor Christopher Gancarz said.
Gancarz was born after the Murrah Bombing, so he relies a lot on his school group, and his mother to understand it all.
"I think it's important for them to know that there are bad people in the word who will do bad things, but out of those bad things come good things, things like this memorial," Christopher's mother, Sunni Bolt, said.
And that's the goal for those who work to attract tourists, education. Promotional ads and materials always show the site as it stands now. You won't see any images of the Murrah Building immediately following the blast. The idea is that the city has moved beyond that one moment.
"I think we have to show them what it's about," said Laura Kriegel with the Oklahoma Convention and Visitor's Bureau. "We have to show it's a place they can experience, they can pay tribute, they can be educated about how violence and anger can be handled in such different ways."
But the people who run the museum are hoping visitors will spend money. The museum is the only place you will see images from the day of the Murrah Bombing, but they're not for sale.
"We're trying to portray something that gives something of hope, something that says Oklahoma City has moved forward," Joanne Riley with the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum said.
The people who visit don't seem to mind that images of the tragedy aren't prominently displayed. They're content with what they see now.
"It's peaceful to me to come down here because you have the pond and the tree that's still standing which is really nice," visitor Misti Rosich said.
"I'm amazed by this place, it's awesome," said visitor Matthew Rosich. "The pond, the chairs, the memories of what happened just brings a tear to my eyes, I love it."
The money the site or the museum takes in help fund the operation of the memorial.
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