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Visitors to the National Museum of African American History and Culture were stunned when a noose was found on the premises.
BuzzFeed reports that a noose was spotted on the floor in one of the museum’s historic galleries which chronicled segregation. Given the racial violence signified by the object, this was a particularly alarming incident.
One official, however, appeared not to be fazed.
“It was rather a small rope thing and not something that would set off the magnetometers,” Smithsonian spokeswoman Linda St. Thomas told BuzzFeed News. “Park Police removed it and we reopened the gallery about an hour later.”
This was the second time in a week that a noose had been spotted on the grounds of a Smithsonian museum. On Friday night, one was found hanging in a tree at the nearby Hirshorn museum. At the time, it had been the first noose ever seen on the premises of any their properties.
Smithsonian Secretary David Skorton informed museum staff of the latest incident in an email, writing, “The Smithsonian family stands together in condemning this act of hatred and intolerance, especially repugnant in a museum that affirms and celebrates the American values of inclusion and diversity. We will not be intimidated.”
In his own statement, founding director Lonnie Bunch called it a “horrible act” and “painful reminder of the challenges that African Americans continue to face.”