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In terms of recent collections, the museum has one of the largest collections around the events of Sept. 11, 2001, currently on display. It already has begun collecting memorabilia on Occupy Wall Street, including buttons, broadsides and various other materials produced around the grass-roots movement that’s spread throughout the country, Mirrer said.

The inaugural exhibition, “Revolution! The Atlantic World Reborn,” on the American, French and Haitian revolutions features the recently discovered and only known surviving copy of the first printing of the Haitian Declaration of Independence.

“History Under Your Feet” is another innovation at the museum, featuring 12 manhole-like glass display cases embedded into the floor containing excavated New York relics such as a pair of child’s boots recovered from the 1904 fire on the General Slocum passenger ship.

The DiMenna Children’s History Museum on the lower level was created to “give families with children a reason to come here,” said Mirrer, and is designed around a group of pavilions that portray historic figures as children.

Historic documents from the society’s collection and multi-layered high- and low-tech features let young visitors explore deeper into the lives and time of such figures as Alexander Hamilton, James McCune Smith, and “Newsies,” the young boys and girls who hacked newspapers on the city’s streets at the turn of the 20th century.

An 18-minute, multimedia film, “New York Story,” by filmmaker Donna Lawrence is narrated by actor Liev Schreiber and projected on a 73-foot-wide screen in the museum’s expanded 420-seat auditorium.