Jan 6 artifacts collected from American History Museum testify to organization, planning and violence

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The first collection of historical artifacts gathered by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History documenting the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, features a bulletproof vest worn by a reporter when she was assaulted and signs with violent rhetoric.

“It started with the head,” read a sign, echoing the frightening words chanted by the rioters who stormed the Capitol and threatened the lives of lawmakers.

“These are heavy panels. They clearly took a long time to repaint, and someone came with bolts and tools to attach them to the posts on the street. So they weren’t walking around carrying them. They wanted to. that they were somewhere people could see them and probably thought they would stay there for a long time, “Claire Jerry, curator of political history at the museum, told ABC News, describing the sign and others in the collection with words stenciled and spray painted on large, thick sheets of metal.

PHOTO: Rioters loyal to President Donald Trump gather at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on January 6, 2021 (Jose Luis Magana / AP, FILE)

On January 6, ABC News Live will cover throughout the day the events marking one year since the attack on the United States Capitol and the continuing fallout for American democracy.

The museum collected several artifacts in the days immediately following the attack. As they often do, especially in the nation’s capital, they dispatched a rapid response team to pick up and store discarded materials on the National Mall and around the Capitol buildings. Jerry said in some cases his staff have tried to stay ahead of cleanup crews to collect important materials that might otherwise have been lost.

Museum staff say it has been a challenge to bring in new artifacts over the past year, due to COVID-19 restrictions and extensive and ongoing law enforcement investigations. But the team was quick to talk about the historic significance of that day to the country’s politics, as well as the 2020 campaign and election.

PHOTO: Papers and gas masks are left behind after members of the House of Representatives leave the floor of the House chamber as rioters attempt to enter the chamber of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington.  (J. Scott Applewhite / AP, FILE)

PHOTO: Papers and gas masks are left behind after members of the House of Representatives leave the floor of the House chamber as rioters attempt to enter the chamber of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington. (J. Scott Applewhite / AP, FILE)

This peaceful transfer of presidential authority, the mainstay of American democracy since 1800, was intentionally halted as thousands of rioters, many carrying Trump banners and placards, violently breached police security and entered the Capitol. This was the first time the Capitol had been breached on a large scale since the War of 1812, when British troops attacked the city, “museum staff wrote in a press release this week. .

More than 700 criminal cases have been brought against rioters and nearly 200 people have already pleaded guilty. Dozens of law enforcement officials were injured in the attack, many of whom were hospitalized and out of work for months.

MORE: Beyond the riot, January 6 was a dangerously close call. How Trump’s plot almost succeeded: ANALYSIS

“The January 6 attack on Capitol Hill and on the founding of the Democratic Republic of the United States revealed the fragility of our political system,” said Anthea M. Hartig, director of the Elizabeth MacMillan Museum. “As the country’s flagship history museum, our staff are committed to documenting and, most importantly, preserving this history for future generations in order to understand how the events of this busy day unfolded and to monitor their continuing impacts. . “

The collection includes a group of National Guard badges from units across the country that responded within days of the attack, as well as a bulletproof vest worn by a freelance photographer when it was attacked by a rioter on the Capitol grounds in the evening. January 6.

PHOTO: A flag with

PHOTO: A flag reading “Betrayal” is visible on the ground in the wee hours of the morning of January 7, 2021, after rioters stormed the Capitol in Washington. (Andrew Harnik / AP, FILE)

The blade of the attacker’s knife pierced the heavy fabric of journalist Madeleine Kelly’s jacket. The attack was clearly violent and violent. Kelly credits the jacket with keeping her safe and even saving her life.

“We know from videos and photographs that the press was literally attacked. There were hidden cameras, and that’s an important story to tell,” Shannon Perich, curator of photography, told ABC at the museum. . The vest is displayed on a mannequin designed to be close to Kelly’s waist.

“Her physique wasn’t threatening, but she was taking pictures and it was threatening. And it’s an interesting story to think about the power of photography in that way,” Perich added.

Jan 6 artifacts collected from American History Museum testify to organization, planning and violence originally appeared on abcnews.go.com


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