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Smithsonian Collects Occupy Wall Street Ephemera

First Posted: 11/03/11 04:42 AM ET Updated: 11/03/11 04:42 AM ET

Each day, Occupy Wall Street grows larger and the question persists: will this movement change history? The Smithsonian thinks it might.

The Smithsonian Museum of American History has been sending representatives into Zuccotti Park to collect ephemera from the protests, including signs, flyers and artworks. Smithsonian library director Jean Aston explained, "These items document a particular moment in time which may become significant in the future." The Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. is showing interest in collecting materials as well. The museum has not explicitly commented on what they have collected so far.

The Smithsonian has always sought 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," according to a statement. Other protest ephemera in the Smithsonian collection include materials from the 1963 March on Washington and Tea Party rallies. Historian Kenneth Jackson told ARTINFO that while the protests may ultimately have little significance in the grand scheme of history, they could also grow to become a world-wide movement.

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Filed by Priscilla Frank  |