The United States marked the one-year anniversary of the January 6 Capitol riots on Thursday, and a new collection at the Smithsonian is documenting how the day will be historically preserved for future generations. The exhibit is still in its early stages.
New Jersey Congressman Andy Kim’s memorable actions inspired part of the curation.
“There’s not a day that goes by when I’m at the Capitol, where I don’t think about it,” Kim told CBS News’ congressional correspondent Nikole Killion.
Kim recalled walking into the rotunda and feeling like his “heart sank.” Looking at the mess that rioters had left, Kim started to clean up.
“There was a lot of just trash, clothing, flags. What really compelled me to do it is when my mother brought me to show me the Capitol building,” said Kim.
Images of Kim, in his blue J. Crew suit, cleaning up some trash went viral. His suit is now part of a collection that will eventually go on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
“You don’t always associate political history with clothing,” said Clare Jerry, curator at the National Museum of American History.
The museum unveiled some of its curated items, from political signs retrieved right after the riot to law enforcement badges and a slashed press vest.
“It is, I think, incumbent upon us for future historians, researchers and for the American people to say there were a lot of things happening this day. There’s a lot of things that happened in history, and not all of them are easy to talk about,” Jerry said.
Kim said he believes the exhibit is a first step toward healing a divided Congress and the country.
“I think certainly understanding the truth of that day needs to be the first step. You cannot have reconciliation unless you have the truth,” said Kim.
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