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The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture unveiled its latest exhibit, one featuring Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, a figure whose absence from the museum when it opened a year ago raised eyebrows among conservatives.

According to the Washington Times, Thomas appears as part of an exhibit that was installed just before the museum’s one-year anniversary Sunday. That exhibit honors Thomas as well as the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall—the only two African Americans ever to serve on the nation’s highest court.

Given Thomas’ accomplishments, the Times reports, his apparent previous absence from the museum sparked controversy among conservatives who suspected Smithsonian officials of ideological bias and called for Thomas’ inclusion.

The chief spokesperson for the Smithsonian Institution, Linda St. Thomas, told the Times that the museum is “evolving and other things will change over time.”

The exhibit, she noted, includes a picture of Thomas, the 1991 cover of Jet magazine on which he appeared and the inscription, “Clarence Thomas: From Seminary School to Supreme Court.”


Nonetheless, the museum is still one of the Smithsonian’s “must-sees,” attracting almost 3 million visitors in just its first year.

“We expected 4,000 people a day,” founding director Lonnie Bunch told the Associated Press, the Times notes. “We get 8,000 people a day, so I can’t complain about a thing.”

In honor of its anniversary, the museum extended its hours last weekend so that more people could enjoy the exhibits.


Read more at the Washington Times.