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Smithsonian snapping up objects to document Occupy Wall Street

October 26, 2011 |  3:49 pm


Among those closely watching the Occupy Wall Street protests: the Smithsonian.

The National Museum of American History has dispatched representatives to collect materials, such as protest signs, from the demonstrations.

It is in pursuit of the museum's mission to "document the spirit of American democracy and the American political process, including how people express their points of view through political rallies, demonstrations and protests," the institution said in a statement.

A Smithsonian spokeswoman would not say what materials its representatives have collected or what sites they have visited.

"The museum collects from contemporary events because many of these materials are ephemeral and, if not collected immediately, are lost to the historical record," the statement says.

The museum’s collection includes protest signs carried during the 1963 March on Washington, materials from a Tea Party rally, and materials from protests in the Wisconsin state capitol this year over a measure to strip most public workers of their collective bargaining rights.


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 -- Richard Simon in Washington

Photo: Protesters affiliated with the "Occupy Wall Street" movement wave signs and banners outside the home of JP Morgan Chase's chief executive this month in New York. Credit: Andrew Burton / Associated Press