As we approach the 17th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks, Alcatraz East Crime Museum will be hosting a special guest speaker who will share his story of working at Ground Zero in New York. Arthur Bohanan, a forensic expert, will be speaking at the museum on Saturday Sept.
8. His presentation is included in the museum admission, with talks scheduled for 12 p.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3 p.m.
“We are honored to have Art Bohanan speak at the museum and share his first-hand experiences of the 9/11 attacks,” said Rachael Penman, director of artifacts and exhibits. “Around the anniversary we always try mark the moment in some way, and we look forward to visitors joining us to hear Art’s powerful story.”
Mr. Bohanan is a local forensic expert who arrived at Ground Zero the day after the attack. He spent weeks onsite, using his expertise to do the difficult work of identifying human remains. Working 12-hour shifts in a makeshift mortuary, he was subjected to breathing in a toxic combination of vaporized plastics, jet fuel, asbestos, and numerous other toxins. To this day, he continues to suffer health issues from breathing in the toxins. Since that tragic day, there have been over 1,000 rescue and recovery workers who have died as a direct result of medical issues they developed from working at the site.
In addition to hearing Mr. Bohanan speak, visitors can visit the museum’s 9/11 exhibit. The display includes pieces from Mr. Bohanan, including his ID badge, hard hat, and respirator mask. There are also additional new items that the museum has added from the cleanup site, including a computer keyboard, melted and twisted from the heat and impact of the towers’ collapse.
“I worked in New York City at Ground Zero and the medical examiner's lab for eight weeks on DNA recovery. The personal sacrifice of the dedicated first responders in the aftermath is often overlooked, and I am honored to speak about my time there,” said Mr. Bohanan. “The medical issues from the site have been difficult, but I have been blessed and would do it again.”
Mr. Bohanan grew up in Sevier County, joining the FBI out of high school. He spent 26 years with the Knoxville Police Department as a senior forensic examiner. Specializing in fingerprints, he also invented a device using vaporized superglue blown onto skin to make prints available. He received a patent for the invention, which is used around the world.
From Sept. 7-Oct. 14, Alcatraz East Crime Museum will be hosting its annual fall local appreciation days. Locals from the counties of Blount, Cocke, Jefferson, Knox, and Sevier, as well as those from the state welcome centers, receive $5 admission when they show their local identification or paystub.
The museum is always adding to their collection and has a star-studded panel of experts who make up the Advisory Board, including those in law enforcement, collectors, a medical examiner, crime scene investigators, and others. The board includes Jim Willett, a retired prison warden, Anthony Rivera, a combat veteran and Navy SEAL chief, and Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., who is best known for the Casey Anthony trial. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit: www.alcatrazeast.com.