The Bennington Museum statue vandalized; banner erected | Local News

BENNINGTON – Bennington Police are investigating vandalism at the Bennington Museum on Saturday night and discovered Sunday morning by a museum employee.

Police said a large banner was erected between two lampposts at the entrance to the museum’s courtyard. “LAND BACK” was written on the banner. In addition, the statue of Abraham Lincoln in the courtyard had been vandalized. The statue had reddish spray paint covering the statue’s face and hands. In the center of the statue’s chest was the number “38”. It is estimated that repairing the statue and removing the paint will cost several thousand dollars, police said.

It is believed that “38” and “LAND BACK” refer to the Dakota 38, when 38 Dakota men were hanged on the orders of President Abraham Lincoln, according to police. The Dakota 38 hangings and convictions resulted from the aftermath of the American Dakota War of 1862 in southwest Minnesota.

A military commission sentenced 303 Sioux fighters to be executed. Lincoln reviewed the cases and decided there was evidence that 39 Sioux were guilty of murder or rape during the uprising and ordered their execution. The remaining 264 convictions have been commuted. One of those condemned to be executed received a suspended sentence.

The Bennington Museum describes itself as a museum of art, history and innovation. The museum is located at 75 Main Street.

This incident of vandalism is under investigation. Anyone with information should contact Agent Amanda Knox at 802-442-1030 or provide information through the website at

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Margarita B. Bittner

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