It has been announced that the Natural History Museum in New York will remove its controversial Theodore Roosevelt statue.
The Roosevelt statue comes as the latest monument to be taken down, a movement which was sparked by the group of protesters in Bristol hauled down the statue of slave trader Edward Colston and dumped it into a river.
The removal of Colston has resulted in a widespread reflection and analysis of the statues and celebrated figures of society, many of which have been intrinsically linked to racism in some form. Now, as many institutions begin measures to remove or change historic aspects, New York’s Natural History Museum has followed suit with the removal of the Theodore Roosevelt statue which stands at its entrance.
The Roosevelt statue in question, which was commissioned in 1925 and installed in 1940, has regularly come under fire in recent years as protesters point out his racist views.
“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 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.”
That statement adds: “To understand the statue, we must recognise our country’s enduring legacy of racial discrimination—as well as Roosevelt’s troubling views on race. We must also acknowledge the Museum’s own imperfect history. Such an effort does not excuse the past but it can create a foundation for honest, respectful, open dialogue.”