Canceled: NYC Removes Teddy Roosevelt Monument from Museum of Natural History

A wall, scaffolding and white tarp surround what is left of the controversial equestrian statue of President Theodore Roosevelt, at the American Museum of Natural History, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, in New York. A crew removed a portion of the statue overnight. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Workers have removed the iconic Theodore Roosevelt statue that had stood in front of the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan since 1940.

The bronze monument depicts Roosevelt on horseback with an African man and Native American man – both on foot- by his side. “It has been criticized by some as a symbol of colonialism and racism,” according to Reuters.

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The statue depicting the 26th President of the United States was taken down on Wednesday, the outlet reports. It will be relocated to the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library in Medora, North Dakota, scheduled to open in 2026, Breitbart News previously reported.

A rally lead by the New York Young Republican Club calls for the Equestrian Statue of Theodore Roosevelt to remain in place on June 28, 2020 in New York City. (David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

Museum officials spoke of removing the statue in June 2020 on the heels of nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd, according to previous reporting by Breitbart News:

“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,” the museum’s president, Ellen V. Futter, told the New York 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.”

“Simply put,” Futter added, “the time has come to move it.”

Former Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio also endorsed removing the “problematic statue” at the time. The museum is situated on city-owned property.

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 28: A rally lead by the New York Young Republican Club calls for the Equestrian Statue of Theodore Roosevelt to remain in place on June 28, 2020 in New York City. The American Museum of Natural History has requested that the City of New York and Mayor Bill de Blasio remove the statue as part of a movement to remove racist monuments across the country. In a statement, the museum added that the statue itself communicates a racial hierarchy that the Museum and members of the public have long found disturbing. (Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

A rally lead by the New York Young Republican Club calls for the Equestrian Statue of Theodore Roosevelt to remain in place on June 28, 2020 in New York City. (David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

Roughly a year later, on June 21, 2021, “The New York City Public Design Commission unanimously approved a measure to relocate the statue,” Breitbart News reported. The commission’s decision was first covered by the New York Times. 

Sam Biederman, with the New York City Parks Department, asserted that although the monument “was not erected with malice of intent,” its composition “supports a thematic framework of colonization and racism.”

On November 19, 2021, the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation announced in a release that it “entered into an agreement with the City of New York for the long-term loan and reconsideration of the Equestrian Statue.”

The release states:

The board of the TR Library believes the Equestrian Statue is problematic in its composition. Moreover, its current location denies passersby consent and context. The agreement with the City allows the TR Library to relocate the statue for storage while considering a display that would enable it to serve as an important tool to study the nation’s past. With the support of members of the Roosevelt family, the TR Library will establish an Advisory Council composed of representatives of the Indigenous Tribal and Black communities, historians, scholars, and artists to guide the recontextualization of the statue.

The Board of Trustees for the New York State Roosevelt Memorial commissioned the monument in 1929, the release states. It was designed by James Earle Fraser and was placed in front of the Manhattan museum in 1940.

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