A noose was reportedly found outside a Washington, D.C. museum Friday evening, museum staff announced in an email.
A security officer spotted the noose swinging from a tree outside the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden around 6:30 pm after responding to a call about “suspicious activity,” reports BuzzFeed News.
The noose was taken down, but authorities don’t know how long the noose was allegedly there.
“It is unknown when the noose was hung or how long it had been there,” The United States Park Police (USPP) said in a statement. “The USPP continues to investigate this case.”
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, a part of the Smithsonian Institution, focuses on modern art and culture. Linda St. Thomas, chief spokeswoman for the Smithsonian Institute, told Buzzfeed News that an incident like this has never happened before, adding that the museum doesn’t have any exhibits on race.
“There isn’t an exhibition about a racial anything. It’s just a contemporary art museum,” St. Thomas explained.
The secretary of the Smithsonian, David Skorton, emailed staff to inform them about the incident.
“The Smithsonian is committed to be a welcoming, inclusive, and safe place for all,” Skorton wrote in his email. “I know you join me in deploring this act.”
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