BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A symbol of hate was discovered inside the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Museum officials say the noose was found hanging in a segregation exhibit on the second floor.

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Like similar cases in Maryland, it’s in the hands of police.

The incident is a stark contrast to everything the museum celebrates.

“This is a day that has shown us this museum is more important than ever,” said a museum administrator.

Smithsonian officials say it’s now the focus of a full blown police investigation and call it a deplorable act of cowardice and depravity.

Visitors call it disturbing.

“Somebody is making a statement, and it’s bred in pure ignorance,” one man said.

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“I think its shocking that in 2017, we still have this kind of bigotry,” a woman said.

It’s become a hate-fueled trend not just on display inside one of D.C.’s architectural wonders, but all over Washington and Maryland.

Bananas were found hanging on the American University campus. In College Park, police found a noose inside a frat house and another on a light outside Crofton Middle School.

There, cameras captured two teens tying it up. Their attorney defended it as a prank, but police called it a hate crime.

“At the end of the day, hate does not win. History is our best teacher in being the best country we can be,” the administrator said.

Police say this is the second noose found at a Smithsonian museum in about a week span. They’re investigating a similar incident at the Hirshhorn Museum.

Police have not released pictures or details related to either investigation.

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