Jan Ramirez

Archivists work to save 9/11 history

Somebody should test the composition of the dust mask residue.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070428/ap_on_re_us/sept11_archive

Archivists work to save 9/11 history

By AMY WESTFELDT, Associated Press Writer

Sat Apr 28, 2:30 PM ET

It started with a clogged dust mask that fell onto the desk of Jan Ramirez on the afternoon of Sept. 11, 2001. A friend had used the paper mask to breathe while fleeing downtown Manhattan as the air was filled with grit and smoke from the World Trade Center towers.

"That dust mask is going to be an important artifact some day," Ramirez recalled the friend telling her.

Today, the mask has become a museum piece, one small part of the largest records trove ever assembled to document a single event.

Millions of pieces of paper documenting government investigations, BlackBerry messages written by survivors as they fled, children's finger-paintings and family photographs are also part of the archive, preserved in many different places including state offices, museums and on the Internet.

Saving all things Sept. 11 was a mission embraced from the time of the attacks by professional archivists and grassroots collectors.