This weekend I visited the CELL in Denver and left feeling uneasy. I totally get the idea of memorializing tragic events like 9-11, and other terror events that have affected us in the past but to bring it into a setting to use it as education against terrorism is too far. The CELL seemed more of a historical museum of terror attacks, and how they went about doing it more then it was about education. The education for something of this magnitude should be kept separate from art and museum type activity settings. I feel as if the CELL as a whole went too far beyond what they wanted to accomplish, and if they wanted to create uneasiness within their viewers, then I think that the entire exhibit is wrong.
I remember 9-11 as a child. I lived in a town that was the head for all of the FAA operations on the east coast. The plane that crashed in PA flew directly over us, and our city had become a target. I was still too young to know exactly what was going on but I remember being taken out of school and watching the news events play out on TV. For years after and still today those events are played out in memory of lives lost. I later moved to MA where many of my friends had families who worked in the City and even lost family members that day. When I walked into the CELL and saw that piece of metal from the World Trade Centers, it made me sick. Some things need to be put in the past, not forgotten, but not needed to be brought up in your face in such a way. I felt as if the whole exhibit was like this.
Another section that caught me off guard was the simulation of a terror attack in Denver. This was too far. We don’t need such a graphic reminder of what could happen. If somebody sees something suspicious I would hope that they would inform the authorities and not need a training course to do so. I don’t think that the CELL is going to make any difference in stopping a terror attack. Obviously, something like the CELL is an exhibit that is only attended unless you know what you are going to view or if you are sent to class. That means that it is targeting a particular audience. The feeling I got is that it is targeting certain members of our society such as police officers, military, pro-war activists, and those who seem overly concerned by our national security.
I found this to be a very opinionated area, especially when it came to our national security, for many reasons. I think that the topic, in general, brings a lot of scrutiny because of how past leaders have gone about dealing in with terror. They posted a whiteboard in the exhibit and asked people to write their thoughts. The question on the board said, “Will President Trump’s $54 billion military expansion impact US security?” People then ranted and raved, but the majority of the comments seemed to support Trump or hope for the best of the outcome. This was the crowd that visited the CELL at their leisure.
Overall the tour as a whole was educational. This was their intent, and they were successful about that. I did not learn much about how to prevent a terror attack other than what you may read on the billboard. I learned a lot about how terror attacks occurred and who put them on. It created anger and fear in my mental state, which I also think, was part of their intent. The exhibit as a whole was a waste of my money as well as the museum’s money. They could have used that money in other ways to prevent terror and try and push the education in a different way. I don’t think that I would want to visit the CELL again. It is very odd to see that people like to put time, energy, and money into things such as this.