Prominent objects from the Capitol riot will be preserved at the Smithsonian

Source: The Hill | January 15, 2021 | Joseph Guzman

The U.S. Capitol was breached for the first time since the War of 1812 last Wednesday by a mob of violent Trump supporters.

The Smithsonian is collecting a number of items from last week’s riot at the United States Capitol in order to document the insurrection that left five people dead and sent shockwaves around the world. 

The National Museum of American History, a branch of the Smithsonian Institution, announced after the riot that curators have begun collecting and sorting through protest signs, posters and other items left behind from the violent mob that stormed through the Capitol on Jan. 6. 

“The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History has an ongoing and deep commitment to document all aspects of the American political experiment: a government by the people,” Anthea M. Hartig, the museum’s director, said in a statement released Jan. 8. 

“A key tenet of this constitutional democracy is the peaceful transfer of power following U.S. presidential elections, dating back to the republic’s first presidential election. This week, that core belief was shaken,” the statement said. 

Hartig asked the public to safely save any materials that could be considered for future acquisition and to send photos and descriptions of the artifacts to the museum. The Smithsonian has not specified which items from the riot will enter its collection. 

“As curators from the museum’s Division of Political and Military History continue to document the election of 2020, in the midst of a deadly pandemic, they will include objects and stories that help future generations remember and contextualize Jan. 6 and its aftermath,” the statement said.

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