On September 10, 2002, the first phase of the Viewing Wall at Ground Zero was inaugurated by Governor George Pataki and other dignitaries at ceremonies commemorating the anniversary of 9/11. The simple design of the wall, a screen-like grid of galvanized steel, allowed visitors to see into the Trade Center site and also carried a series of large fiberglass panels that feature information on the buildings and rebuilding, as well as history panels. Special alcoves of recessed bays contain panels with all the names of the victims of September 11, 2001.
The Skyscraper Museum collaborated with the Port Authority, the design firm Pentagram, and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) to provide the history panels for the Viewing Wall. The Museum provided the images and captions that allow visitors to better understand the context of the construction of the Twin Towers and the urban history of the Trade Center site.
The second phase of the Viewing Wall was completed in September 2003. The Liberty Street side of the site has 17 history panels that picture the evolution of lower Manhattan from colonial times through the Twin Towers in a series of maps, skyline views, historic photographs, and postcards.