NYC's Museum of Natural History hides controversial Theodore Roosevelt statue ...

NYC's Museum of Natural History hides controversial Theodore Roosevelt statue ...
NYC's Museum of Natural History hides controversial Theodore Roosevelt statue ...

The American Museum of Natural History in New York City has covered the controversial statue of President Theodore Roosevelt ahead of its long-term loan to the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library in North Dakota.  

The statue, which stood on the front steps of the museum for eight decades, has been hidden under a tarp and scaffolding. It was covered up just two weeks after the removal was announced, with the process to shift the 80 year-old monument set to take several months, according to museum staff. 

The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library, which is set to open in Medora, North Dakota in 2026, announced their agreement with the City of New York for a long-term loan two weeks ago. No information on how long the loan is intended to last for has been provided by the museum. 

The Roosevelt statue was commissioned by the Board of Trustees of the New York State Roosevelt Memorial in 1929 and welcomed guests at the front of the American Museum of Natural History since 1940. 

The statue has long been criticized, however, for its depiction of Roosevelt on horseback alongside a black man and Native American, which critics have said signifies a racial hierarchy in which Roosevelt stands higher than the other two.  

The controversial statue of Theodore Roosevelt on the front steps of the American Museum of Natural History has been blocked from view

The controversial statue of Theodore Roosevelt on the front steps of the American Museum of Natural History has been blocked from view 

The statue was covered in tarp and scaffolding two weeks after it was announced that the controversial piece will be moved to Roosevelt's Presidential Library in North Dakota

The statue was covered in tarp and scaffolding two weeks after it was announced that the controversial piece will be moved to Roosevelt's Presidential Library in North Dakota

The statue depicts Roosevelt riding a horse with a Native American and black man walking alongside him

The statue depicts Roosevelt riding a horse with a Native American and black man walking alongside him 

Objections to the statue grew more forceful in recent years, especially after the murder of George Floyd that sparked a racial reckoning and a wave of protests across the US. 

While opposition to the statue has reached an all-time high, others are upset by the statue's removal. 

Stefano Forte, whose running for New York Senate, tweeted: 'So sad to go by the Museum of Natural History today and see the statue of Teddy Roosevelt all covered up.'

'We need icons like Teddy to inspire the next generation of trust-busters and populists. Tearing this statue down and erasing his image is a damn shame.'

Twitter user @olivetreebeck shared a photo of the statue before and after it was covered commenting: 'We used to be a country. A proper country.'

@phil_oliva suggested: 'Ok. But replace it with another, more fitting Theodore Roosevelt statue.' 

The statue's long-term loan was announced in a statement last month. 

Critics have complained that the statue signifies a racial hierarchy in which Roosevelt stands higher than the Native American and the black man

Critics have complained that the statue signifies a racial hierarchy in which Roosevelt stands higher than the Native American and the black man

But others have expressed their dismay at the removal of the iconic statue

But others have expressed their dismay at the removal of the iconic statue 

'We are grateful to the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library for proposing a fitting new home for the Equestrian Statue,' Vicki Been, New York City's Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development said according to a statement. 

'This long-term loan would allow an important part of the City's art collection to be appropriately contextualized, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Library on next steps.' 

The piece was sculpted by James Earl Fraser and intended to 'celebrate Theodore Roosevelt as a devoted naturalist and author of works on natural history,' the museum says on its website, and notes that Roosevelt's father, Theodore Roosevelt Sr., was one of the museum's founders. 

'Rather than burying a troubling work of art, we ought to learn from it,' Theodore Roosevelt V, a descendant of the late president said. 

'It is fitting that the statue is being relocated to a place where its composition can be recontextualized to facilitate difficult, complex, and inclusive discussions.'  

In 2019, the museum ran an exhibit about the statue and how it was perceived by the public. The 'Addressing the Statue' exhibition opened up a conversation with museum attendees about the place of the statue in today's world.

The controversial statue of the 26th US president will find a new home at the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation in North Dakota

The controversial statue of the 26th US president will find a new home at the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation in North Dakota 

The Presidential Library in Medora, North Dakota is set to open in 2026

The Presidential Library in Medora, North Dakota is set to open in 2026 

'Rather than burying a troubling work of art, we ought to learn from it,' Theodore Roosevelt V, a descendant of the late President said commenting on the controversial statue's move

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