The American Museum of Natural History has covered up a shameful monument from the past.
A disturbing statue of Theodore Roosevelt that has stood on the porch of the Manhattan Museum for more than 80 years is now out of sight, according to photos taken by The Post on Monday.
The bronze effigy of the country’s 26th president, criticized for glorifying colonialism and racism, is being sent to North Dakota on a long-term loan to the upcoming presidential library Theodore Roosevelt.
Just two weeks after the move was announced, the statue is already completely hidden, covered in scaffolding and a tarp, as photos from the Post show.
The move, carried out by the museum with help from the city, is expected to take “several months,” officials said when the deal was announced.
The TR Library, due to open in Medora in 2026, acknowledged that the statue “is problematic in its composition”, with Roosevelt on horseback, flanked by an African man and a Native American.
Its prominence at the front of the tourist destination “also negates the consent and background of passers-by,” the library said late last month as it announced its deal with the museum and the city.
The library will stock it as a first step, as it will examine how best to use it to teach troubling aspects of U.S. history, with leaders of black and indigenous communities being asked to help an advisory committee.
“Museums are supposed to do difficult things,” Foundation Libraries CEO Edward F. O’Keefe said in a statement last month.
“It is said that ‘those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it,’ and our job is to frankly examine history to understand the present and create a better future.”
Opposition to the statue mounted in recent years, especially after the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis cop in May 2020.
In June 2020, officials at the museum – which is privately run but sits on public land – offered to remove the statue as part of a nationwide movement to end public works honoring Confederate leaders.
The New York City Public Design Commission voted unanimously this month to move it.
One of the ex-president’s descendants, Theodore Roosevelt V, supported the removal of the statue, which he said is “problematic in its hierarchical representation of his subjects.”
âRather than burying a disturbing work of art, we should learn from it.
âIt is appropriate that the statue is moved to a place where its composition can be recontextualized to facilitate difficult, complex and inclusive discussions,â he said of the plans for the North Dakota library.