NYC Museum Removing Statue of President Theodore Roosevelt
80-year-old monument at New York's American Museum of Natural History to be torn down
The statue of former President Theodore Roosevelt that stands outside New York City's Museum of Natural History will be removed amid widespread protests over racial inequality and police brutality in America, according to reports.
The monument, depicting Teddy Roosevelt on horseback while flanked by a black man and a Native-American man, has stood at the entrance to the museum since 1940.
The museum requested the statue be moved and the city agreed, according to a report in The New York Times on Sunday.
Although it is privately run, the museum sits on public land.
“Over the last few weeks, our museum community has been profoundly moved by the ever-widening movement for racial justice that has emerged after the killing of George Floyd,” Ellen Futter, the museum’s president, told the Times.
“We have watched as the attention of the world and the country has increasingly turned to statues as powerful and hurtful symbols of systemic racism,” she added.
“Simply put, the time has come to move it,” Futter said.
“The statue was meant to celebrate Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) as a devoted naturalist and author of works on natural history,” the museum said in a public statement.
"Roosevelt’s father was one of the Museum’s founders, and the Museum is proud of its historic association with the Roosevelt family.
“At the same time, the statue itself communicates a racial hierarchy that the Museum and members of the public have long found disturbing.”
The statue’s removal comes after left-wing activists have destroyed statues across the country in recent days, including statues of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ulysses S. Grant, Francis Scott Key, and Junipero Serra, according to The Daily Wire.
The museum said that it was going to rename its Hall of Biodiversity after Roosevelt to honor his legacy as a conservationist.
The New York Times added:
[The museum’s president, Ellen V. Futter] also made a point of saying that the museum was only taking issue with the statue itself, not with Roosevelt overall, with whom the institution has a long history.
His father was a founding member of the institution; its charter was signed in his home.
Roosevelt’s childhood excavations were among the museum’s first artifacts.
The museum was chosen by New York’s state legislature for Roosevelt’s memorial in 1920.
The museum already has several spaces named after Roosevelt, including Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall, the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda and Theodore Roosevelt Park outside.
“It’s very important to note that our request is based on the statue, that is the hierarchical composition that’s depicted in it,” Ms. Futter said.
“It is not about Theodore Roosevelt who served as Governor of New York before becoming the 26th president of the United States and was a pioneering conservationist.”
The museum noted in its statement that New York City Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio had created a commission in 2017 to “evaluate a number of controversial monuments around the city, including the Roosevelt statue, which sits on city-owned land.
"The City determined that the Roosevelt statue would remain in place but that more information should be provided.”
The movement to remove statues across the country was recently triggered by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month.