Graffiti to be removed from Madison’s Wisconsin Veterans Museum this week

Graffiti has been on the Wisconsin Veterans Museum since protests started in late May

MADISON – The Wisconsin Veterans Museum will clean up graffiti from the side of the downtown Madison building after calls for its removal from local veterans.

The removal is expected to commence on Wednesday, according to the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, after consultation with the museum’s insurance company and evaluating cleaning methods on the sensitive stone. 

“We take great pride in sharing the legacy of the service and sacrifice of Wisconsin’s military veterans,” said Veterans Affairs Secretary Mary Kolar. “Protecting the heart and soul of the museum — the stories of veterans that are held within the walls of the museum and told through the museum’s exhibits and artifacts — has been at the forefront.”

A group of local veterans — Wisconsin Veterans for a Clean Museum — called for the erasure of the graffiti in late July and raised more than $20,000 to cover the spray-painted sections of the walls with images that honor Wisconsin veterans, particularly Black service members. 

The group said the spray paint contains “inflammatory language” that hurts Wisconsin veterans and the families of those who died serving the country.

The museum, located on Mifflin Street across from the state Capitol, was one of dozens of buildings marked by graffiti following protests against racism and police brutality sparked by the killing of George Floyd in May. None of the exhibits and artifacts inside the museum were damaged.

The veterans stressed they weren’t objecting to murals commissioned by the city on the boarded windows of the museum, which include a portrait of George Floyd.

The museum has been closed since March 17 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Contact Allison Garfield at agarfield@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter @aligarfield_.