Controversial statue of Theodore Roosevelt removed from American Museum of Natural History

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Controversial statue of Theodore Roosevelt removed from American Museum of Natural History


After decades of calls for its removal, the statue of Theodore Roosevelt, which has stood in front of the American Museum of Natural History for over 80 years, is now gone, dismantled bit by bit over the week. Roosevelt’s head and torso were removed Tuesday night, and workers came Wednesday night to get the rest.

At 12:55 p.m. Thursday, it was history.

The museum told WNYC/Gothamist, “The process, conducted with preservation specialists and approved by multiple New York City agencies, will include the restoration of the plaza in front of the museum, which will continue through the spring.” are estimated at around 2 million US dollars.

Roosevelt wasn’t the only character depicted; The equestrian statue, as it was called, depicted African and Native American figures “holding subservient positions” to Roosevelt. The protests, which have become a symbol of colonialism and racism, began as early as the 1970s, and when calls were reignited in 2017 as the country reckoned with its racist monuments, then-Mayor Bill de Blasio formed an advisory committee to do so to check out the statues of the city.

In place of the towering bronze statue, “a plaque will be installed identifying the museum as the ongoing home of the New York State Theodore Roosevelt Memorial,” according to the museum. In a statement, they noted that they are “proud to continue the official memorial to the former Governor of New York and President of the United States, who was also an accomplished naturalist.

The museum also houses another Roosevelt statue, which stands inside the building on a bench that will be preserved.

The process that will determine the statue’s future was lengthy, and the decision to remove the equestrian statue didn’t come until June 2020. Because the statue stood on city land, it had to go through public hearings, but eventually the Public Design Commission approved the Laying.

Her fate was announced last November: the statue will be moved to North Dakota, where it will be given on long-term loan from the city to the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library, which opens in 2026.

The statue will remain in storage until then.

Additional reporting by Emily Lang.



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