The insurrection was a show of violent insolence as we watched the grotesque and hostile storming of Capitol Hill
January 6th is likely a date that will be burned in our memories forever, looked back on with sheer disgust and disbelief at what we witnessed. As Americans, we watched a terrifying display of arrogance, violence and malcontent rage across the capitol steps and into our sacred nation’s capitol building, disarming every sense of security we had. A group of white supremacists and Trump devotees stormed our nation’s Capitol in an effort to thwart a fair election from being certified, and what happened over the course of hours of that day resulted in casualties, fear and visible proof that our nation is indeed at odds with itself.
As we wait for those responsible to be labeled domestic terrorists and enemies of the state, we also must hope they are imprisoned as terrorists and stripped of their rights as American citizens, no longer protected. But more importantly, we must take a closer look at the events and indicators that led to this appalling display of rage, ask more of our elected leaders and do everything we can to ensure something like this never again happens on American soil. Especially by Americans …
When the full story of the 6 January storming of the US Capitol building is told, historians will have to make sense of what might seem an odd footnote. The two most prominent right-wing militia groups that participated in the mob onslaught on Congress – the Three Percenters, based in Idaho, and the Oath Keepers, based in Nevada – cut their teeth in obscure corners of the American West, where for close to a decade they have threatened violence against federal employees and institutions that steward the nation’s public lands.
“The mob violence that swarmed the halls of the Capitol building and other government offices flows from a series of smaller armed insurrections by domestic terrorists across the west,” says Erik Molvar, Executive Director of the Western Watersheds Project, a non-profit that advocates for environmental regulation of public lands.
WE WILL REMEMBER January 6th: The Cold Morning of the Day After
by Frank Blazich in The Smithsonian Voices
On January 6, my wife and I watched the live news broadcasts in disbelief at the scenes unfolding on television, as a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol and interrupted the constitutionally mandated joint session of Congress presided over by the vice president to ratify the 2020 election results. Often curators like to hold off on collecting about an event until the weight of history can sift and settle; other times, we have to move quickly, or we’ll miss our chance.
Knowing that many objects from the day’s rally and attack on the U.S. Capitol would quickly be discarded, I volunteered to go down to the National Mall and see what I could find. With approval secured an hour later, I pulled together the usual COVID-era curatorial “field kit” for the morning’s work: tote bags, gloves, face mask, business cards, identification badge, and a mental list of imagery and objects I had seen in news footage the day prior.
Reflecting on the Challenges of Our Historic Times
Written by Anthea M. Hartig, Smithsonian Magazine
History, it seems, has become vogue and relevant. It’s watching, it has its eyes on you, and it might very well judge you.
Well, not quite. Historians are watching, and have eyes on you, but we do our very best not to judge. Rather we collect, preserve, and present contemporary times through the multiple lenses of scholarship and interpretation—and, increasingly, safety—so that you can learn and assess with us.
The peoples’ history museum, the National Museum of American History, stewards and shares the national collection and is honored to hold the public’s trust. Our team forms the beating heart of the museum: the dedicated professionals who care for its audiences, buildings, collections, messages, and resources while holding ourselves to the highest standards—all in service to the people of the United States.
Our mission, empowering people to create a just and compassionate future by exploring, preserving, and sharing the complexity of our past, sets an ambitious, inclusive, and powerful table around which we invite our audiences and peers to gather. Our vision, to become the most accessible, inclusive, relevant, and sustainable public history institution in the nation, sets a high, expansive, and courageous bar, designed to daily inspire and challenge us. The museum’s holdings form a fascinating, growing mosaic of American life and comprise the greatest single collection of United States history in the world. Our exhibitions and educational experiences explore fundamental yet fraught and complicated ideals and ideas—such as democracy, opportunity, and freedom—and major themes in U.S. history and culture, from European contact in the Americas to the present day.