In the days and months after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Smithsonian Institution collected small artifacts from the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the field where Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania. A firefighter's helmet, a bit of metal, a dusty briefcase, a stairwell sign - everyday items that now bear the great weight of memory.
The collection of 140 objects became an exhibit, "September 11: Bearing Witness to History," which went on display at the National Museum of American History in Washington last Sept. 11. Now it is traveling, opening today at the Museum of Science and History in Fort Worth, Texas, on the second anniversary of the attacks. On Jan. 4, it leaves Fort Worth for a tour of other cities.
More than 1 million people saw the collection in Washington, where they could do more than simply look and feel. Visitors have the opportunity to contribute reflections and memories, either at the exhibit or on the Internet. (The Web site is http://americanhistory.si.edu/september11.)
Here are a few items from the collection, with descriptions provided by the Smithsonian.