The Smithsonian Institution Is Collecting Black Lives Matter Signs "To Preserve History"
“It is critical that we collect so this moment does not get lost.”
Multiple demonstrations across the U.S. and other countries have taken place over the past few weeks after the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others. According to The New York Times, curators from the Smithsonian Institution have begun collecting Black Lives Matter “art, signs, photographs and other artifacts” from the protest sites outside the White House.
Nine curators from three Smithsonian museums surveyed the Lafayette Square area last week where the security fence broke down, which was initially put up to prevent protestors from entering the premise. Their signs were later taken away by the curators in order to preserve history and “collect historical artifacts in real-time.” Aaron Bryant, a curator at the National Museum of African American History and Culture told the publication: “It is critical that we collect so this moment does not get lost. We talk to people so we don’t forget their stories. History is happening right before us.”
The National Museum of American History said in a statement that it “recognizes that we are in a transformative time in the United States. We are listening to communities. We will document this important moment responsibly and respectfully through a variety of objects and stories from Washington, D.C. and across the nation.” Bryant was able to gather two signs but could not disclose any more information until the objects are “processed to determine whether they will officially join the museum’s collection.”
Portions of the recently-erected security fence were not collected – however, Bryant notes that other museums “might look to take parts of it.” Head on over to The New York Times for more information.
In case you missed it, don’t forget to watch John Boyega’s powerful speech at Hyde Park, London.