Noose found inside National Museum of African American History and Culture

(Photo courtesy of NBC Washington)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC Washington) – A noose has been found at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, according to the U.S. Park Police.

Tourists found the noose inside the museum’s exhibition on segregation Wednesday afternoon, the Smithsonian Institution said in a news release.

Park police removed the noose. The gallery was closed for about an hour while police investigated.

“We were leaving the segregation gallery. We were walking through and then the guard came up and said, ‘Every body out! Every body out!’ So, they rushed us through, and at the time we were not aware of what was going on. We just knew we had to leave that area immediately,” tourist Tracy Grant told News4.

“It’s very hard. It’s very very very upsetting,” “We were very emotional to begin with. This is history. This should not be happening in this day and age,” Grant said.

The incident comes after a noose was found hanging from a tree outside the Hirshorn Museum on Friday.

“We don’t let acts of cowardice like this deter us. We are, if anything, even more vigilante and even more determined to tell this important story,” National Museum of African American History and Culture Deputy Director Kinshasha Holman-Conwill said.

“The Smithsonian family stands together in condemning this act of hatred and intolerance, especially repugnant in a museum that affirms and celebrates the American values of inclusion and diversity,” the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution David Skorton said in an email to employees. “We will not be intimated. Cowardly acts like these will not, for one moment, prevent us from the vital work we do.”

In its release, the Smithsonian cited several other similar incidents that have happened recently in other parts of the country.

“Other nooses have been found on the Duke University campus, the Port of Oakland in California, a fraternity house at the University of Maryland, a middle school in Maryland, and at a high school in Lakewood, California,” stated the release. “All of them seem to be part of a larger wave of violence, intimidation and hate crimes.”