After the terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center on February 26, 1993, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey implemented security measures that set a new standard for high-rise building safety. One of those improvements mandated use of a WTC-issued identification card to all building employees, tenants, and visitors. Entry past the downstairs security desks to the elevators required presentation of these badges, issued to those who worked at the Trade Center and as day passes to guests and vendors conducting business with tenants. For added security, color codes provided another layer of meaning, with green backgrounds indicating a full-time tenant or building operating staff. A yellow card was issued to long-term contractors, and a red card was for visitors or contractors needing access for short-term duration.
Although much of the evidence of work life within the Towers was destroyed on 9/11, these plastic identification cards survived in comparatively large numbers, with many evacuees wearing or carrying them out of the buildings that morning. Others were found by recovery workers at Ground Zero and by forensic experts sifting through wreckage at the Fresh Kills landfill. The museum’s collection includes examples of both.