Visitors found a noose Wednesday at an exhibition on segregation at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. — the second time in less than a week that a noose was found on Smithsonian grounds.
The incident "is a painful reminder of the challenges that African-Americans continue to face," the museum's founding director, Lonnie Bunch, said in a statement. "The noose has long represented a deplorable act of cowardice and depravity — a symbol of extreme violence for African-Americans."
David Skorton, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, condemned what he called an "act of hatred and intolerance, especially repugnant in a museum that affirms and celebrates the American values of inclusion and diversity." In the institutionwide email reported by Smithsonian magazine, Skorton added, "We will not be intimidated."
After U.S. Park Police came to investigate the incident, they removed the noose and the exhibition reopened within a few hours, the magazine reports.
The police did not respond to NPR's request for comment about the ongoing investigation.