MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Veterans are calling for the removal of graffiti and protest art-covered plywood window coverings from the Wisconsin Veterans Museum in downtown Madison.
A coalition of American Legion groups said Thursday that they were “outraged and saddened by the defacement” of the museum’s entrance, which was done last month by those protesting against racism and police brutality following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
Shortly thereafter, plywood was put up covering the glass windows of the museum, which is located directly across the street from the state Capitol.
There is now a mural honoring Floyd on the plywood that was commissioned by the city of Madison, in addition to graffiti on the walls of the building.
The state leases space in the building, which is privately owned, and the museum is run by the Wisconsin Veterans Museum Foundation Board. The building’s owner, Greg Rice, said Thursday that he was in discussions about what will happen next related to the graffiti and the murals, but no decision had been made. He declined to comment further.
A coalition of local veterans called the Wisconsin Veterans for a Clean Museum raised $20,000 to clean up the graffiti and replace the protester art with images honoring veterans, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. However, the museum foundation’s board voted on July 7 against proceeding because it only controls what happens inside the museum, not outside the building.
On Thursday, the Wisconsin chapter of the American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary, Sons of The American Legion and the American Legion Riders issued a statement saying the defacement of the museum had been “disturbing to our veteran community.” The groups did not say specifically what they wanted to have happen next.