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Last Seen at the World Trade Center

on September 11, 2001


Missing: Last Seen at the World Trade Center is an exhibition of the missing person fliers distributed throughout New York City by the friends and family of those who did not come home in the days after September 11, 2001.

Nothing brings the tragedy home like the missing fliers. Seeing the faces on these fliers ensures that the events of that horrific day are remembered for the victims and their families, not for airplanes, buildings and unending statistics. These fliers were a spontaneous outpouring of love and desperate hope. Now, they are a part of American history.

The Creation of the Fliers

The fliers were created as a response to two rumors, or hopes, that swept through the city after the World Trade Center collapsed. The first was that "thousands" of victims lay unconscious and unidentified in hospital beds--friends and family members crowded emergency rooms in hopes that their loved ones were inside. Unfortunately, for most this was not the case; very few were pulled out alive. The second thought was that hundreds of people were walking the streets dazed or suffering temporary amnesia. Again, these rumors were unfounded.

In our age of technology and instant communication, these families were employing the most basic means of communication, approaching strangers with a picture to ask if anyone had seen their loved ones. Showing the fliers was a way in which they could be active in their search, rather than waiting helplessly by the phone. Every day became a ritual of walking from one New York hospital to the next, hanging fliers along the way.

Love inspires hope.

The Fliers in New York

For New Yorkers the fliers were a constant and powerful reminder of their lost neighbors. Although only 500-700 families could get to New York to create fliers, approximately 90,000 were hung. These fliers covered walls, lampposts, subway stops and phone booths all over the city. It was nearly impossible to go about life without encountering them.

These simple messages, usually with little more than a photo, a description and contact information, had the power to stop busy New Yorkers on the street because they speak to our most basic human needs--love and companionship.

New Yorkers and visitors studied the fliers, looked into the faces, and tried to remember if they had seen this person. Strangers cried for people whom they would never meet. People hugged and prayed in the streets. The fliers impressed an intimate sense of community upon the largest city in America.

The Preservation of the Fliers

The fliers were posted outside where they would be exposed to as many people as possible. Unfortunately, this meant that they were also exposed to the sun, the wind and the rain. Within a few days many were already punished by the elements. Within a few weeks they were falling, and being removed by city cleaning crews.

This exhibit was spearheaded by Louis Nevaer, an economist and author, who did not want to watch these expressions of love deteriorate and disintegrate-- eventually becoming nothing more than litter. With help from National Guardsmen at the Armory where the Family Assistance Center was housed, the fliers in this exhibit were rescued. More than 400 unique fliers have been preserved. The exhibits are a result of his tireless efforts to bring the fliers to cities across America.

Mesoamerica Foundation organized and funded the Missing exhibit to take these fliers to parts of the country that would not otherwise have the chance to see them. Approximately 175 framed fliers make up the exhibit.

The exhibit also includes photographs to complement the fliers by showing how they looked in their environment--how they became a part of the living city. Like most Americans, photographer Bronston Jones watched the events unfold from the safety of home. The following week he flew from California to ensure that September 11 would never be remembered as something that played out on TV--he needed to make it tangible. The first night, he saw the fliers. It was raining, and thousands of faces were washing away. He couldn't let their memory fade, so he spent the next four weeks photographing the fliers to preserve them.

The Purpose of the Exhibit

The mission is to share these fliers with Americans and others throughout the world--to share the faces of our friends, neighbors and loved ones who were lost on that day. The hope is that by seeing a face and saying a name we remember that these individuals are the reason that this is a tragedy--the buildings were real estate, the people were real. We can honor their memory by acknowledging their lives and the affect that they had on others.

The exhibit is not a lament for lives lost, as much as a tribute to lives lived. The people in the fliers touched the lives of others. They inspired people who refused to give up hope. They should inspire us to see the affect we have on those whose lives we touch everyday.

Most everyone who views this exhibit will be moved. The fliers are a powerful statement of love.

The Condolence Book

Visitors to the exhibit are invited to sign the Condolence Book before they leave. The book is a chance for people to express their feelings and their prayers for those missing. It is a chance for people to sign that they bore witness to this event. At the end of the tour, the condolence books will also be included in the materials sent to the Smithsonian Institute & Museum of New York which together are archiving the collective historical document in the Nine Eleven History Project.

The Traveling Exhibit

Requests for Missing have come from so many cities that a concurrent exhibit has been created. The first opened in Santa Barbara on January 2, 2002 and is traveling to venues west of the Missisippi. The second opened in Hollywood, FL on January 18, 2002 and is traveling to venues east of the Missisippi. Both tributes are the same exhibit; there are so many fliers that it is possible to duplicate exhibitions. While the presentations may vary, the fliers are identical.

The exhibit started in Southern California, as a way to complete the journey that the planes began on September 11. It has been scheduled for Illinois, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC, with more venues being considered.

The exhibit will travel for about 2 years. At the end, the fliers and photos will be given to the Smithsonian Institute & Museum of New York joint preservation effort.

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Donating a Loved One's Flier

Since "Missing" began a national tour in January, more than sixty fliers have been donated by visitors to the exhibit who noticed that their loved ones' fliers were not on display. It is our policy to accept fliers from the family and friends and co-workers who created the flier. All fliers donated by family members will be included in the exhibition as it travels. We prefer that family or friends bring fliers to the place where the exhibition is on view; however, If this is not possible, kindly send the flier, along with a note authorizing that it be displayed, to Ana Sofia, Mesoamerica, P.O. Box 140681, Coral Gables, FL 33114.

Fliers cannot be returned and will be donated to a museum at the conclusion of the tour where they will be archived. Thank you.

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How You Can Help

Please come to see the fliers and pay your respects in the Condolence Book. Bring friends and loved ones to share in the experience and to talk about it later.

Donations to the Mesoamerica Foundation will help to keep this exhibition on tour. Donations can be made at the exhibit or send checks to Mesoamerica Foundation, PO Box 14068, Coral Gables, FL 33114-0681.

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Commemorative Poster and Prints of the Photographs

Many visitors to 'Missing' have inquired about purchasing the photographs that complement the exhibition of fliers. While the actual photographs on display are not for sale, Bronston Jones has agreed to make certain prints available for a contribution to Mesoamerica. These donations will be used to defray the costs associated with the tour of this tribute.

Click here for the printable order form.

8x10 Photo Prints:

Each of the images below is available in an 8"x10" print for a donation of $25.00. The complete set of five images is available for a $100 donation. For an enlarged view and description click on images below.

16x20 Poster:

This commemorative poster of America Weeps is available for a donation of $15.00

For an enlarged view and description click here.

Click here for the printable order form.

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Scheduled Venues:

(venues and dates are subject to change, more cities are being added, please check back frequently)

(admission is generally free, however since Missing is hosted by independent venues, policies may vary, please call first)


No exhibitions currently scheduled.

Please check back for information.

PAST U.S. VENUES: San Francisco, CA San Francisco City Hall Gallery
  Santa Barbara, CA Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum
  Vallejo, CA Hiddenbrooke Country Club
  Nevada City, CA Nevada City Superintendent of Schools (map)
  Hollywood, FL Now Art Cafe Gallery (map)
  Jacksonville, FL Karpeles Manuscript Library & Museum
  Wichita, KS World Museum of Ancient Treasures, (map)
  New Orleans, LA Contemporary Arts Center (map)
  Las Cruces, NM Las Cruces Convention & Visitors Bureau (map)
  Buffalo, NY Karpeles Manuscript Museum
  Newburgh, NY Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum
  Portsmouth, VA Art Atrium II (map)
  Norman, OK Norman Public Library (map)
  Washington, DC Artists' Museum
  Madison, WI Alliant Energy Center
INTERNATIONAL VENUES: San Jose, Costa Rica Venue: The Ministry of Culture
    Hosted by the Embassy of the United States of America
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Online Press Clippings:

Los Angeles Times (January 5, 2002) - "Exhibit Puts a New Face on September 11"
Ventura County Star (January 10, 2002) - "Museum Displays Posters of Hope"  
South Florida Sun Sentinal (January 6, 2002) - "Poignant Sept. 11 Exhibit Brings Tears on the road"
Santa Barbara Independent (January 10, 2002) - "In Mad Hope"
Santa Barbara News-Press (January 2, 2002) - "New York Fliers Capture Terror"  
South Florida Sun-Sentinal (January 18, 2002) - "Hollywood Cafe Creates Memorial to Victims of World Trade Center Attacks"  
Miami Herald (January 18, 2002) - "Memories of 9/11's Missing Are Kept Alive by Exhibit"  
The Mercury News, Bay Area, CA (February 7, 2002) - "Last Seen on Sept. 11"  
Times Herald-Record, New York (February 20, 2002) - "Emotional exhibit of 'Missing' fliers visits city in May"  
The Flagship News, US Navy (February 21, 2002) - "Art museum brings pain of Sept. 11 to Hampton Roads"  
The Virginia Pilot (February 20, 2002) - "Exhibit reveals lives lost at World Trade Center" Special Flash Preview  
The KCRA Channel, Sacramento, CA (February 26, 2002) - "WTC Exhibit"  
The Buffalo News, NY (April 6, 2002) - "In tattered fliers, signs of terror's tragic toll"  
The Badger-Herald, Madison, WI (April 17, 2002) - "Madison memorial revisits September 11"  
Stevens Point Journal, WI (April 18, 2002) - "Art exhibit honors World Trade Center disaster victims"  
Times Herald-Record, NY (May 5, 2002) - "Missing-person posters from 9/11 still denote hope"  
Wichita Eagle, KS (May 17, 2002) - "Posters hung at Ground Zero come to Wichita"  
Las Cruces Sun-News, NM (July 10, 2002) - "I was not prepared for this"  
The Norman Transcript, OK (July 19, 2002) - "Putting faces to the tragedy"  
The Oklahoman (July 22, 2002) - "Art evolves from NY tragedy"  
The Oklahoma Gazette (July 25, 2002) - "Missing"  
Frontier Country Key, OK (Aug. 2002) - "Missing"  
New Orleans Magazine (Sept. 2002) - "An exhibit that tries to remember"  
The Union, CA (Nov. 23, 2002) - "Moving 9/11 exhibit"  
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Contact Info:

For information regarding the exhibit, booking, press inquiries, etc. Please contact mesoamericafoundation@hotmail.com
For information regarding the photographs, please contact Bronston Jones at bron@bronston.com
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exhibit description


donating a flier


how to help


commemorative poster & prints


scheduled venues


press links


contact info

copyright 2002, bronston.com, all images copyright 2001, Bronston Jones, all rights reserved