Smithsonian Official Says ‘We Will Not Be Intimidated’ After Noose Discovered Inside African-American History Museum

The discovery of a noose inside the National Museum of African American History and Culture prompted police to close the exhibit for three hours. (Photo by: Joe Sohm/Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images)

Visitors at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington D.C., were shocked to find a noose inside a gallery on segregation Wednesday, May 31, the second such incident to occur at one of the Smithsonian’s museums in less than a week.

Museum officials said the noose was discovered on the floor of the exhibit, prompting police to close the gallery for nearly three hours, the Washingtonian reported. U.S. Park Police are now investigating the incident.

“The noose has long represented a deplorable act of cowardice and depravity — a symbol of extreme violence for African-Americans,” Lonnie Bunch, the director of the African-American history museum said in a statement. “Today’s incident is a painful reminder of the challenges that African-Americans continue to face. This was a horrible act, but a stark reminder of why our work is so important.”

Just last week, another noose was discovered hanging outside the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden on Friday, May 26. The museum was shut down for about an hour after a security guard spotted the historically racist symbol, The Washington Post reported.

That incident also is being investigated.

In a letter to NMAAHC employees Wednesday, Smithsonian Secretary David Skorton asserted that, “We will not be intimidated.”

“With new urgency, we will tell the story of our nation and all its people. We will continue to fight this sort of ignorance with knowledge,” Skorton wrote. “We will remain vigilant and, in spite of these deplorable acts, we will become a stronger institution for all Americans.”

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