A statue of Theodore Roosevelt was removed overnight from its spot outside the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The statue depicts Roosevelt riding a horse, as two nameless African and Native American men flank him on foot. https://t.co/KqLwUHcY6n
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) January 20, 2022
The usual suspects, of course, are outraged. Especially the ones who only knew about the American Museum of Natural History — and, possibly, Teddy Roosevelt — because of those terrible ‘Night at the Museum’ movies. But the AMNH was one of the lodestones of my childhood, and I can assure you: That statue was considered an embarrassment even fifty years ago. It will *not* be missed in NYC. And it’s found a much more culturally appropriate home elsewhere:
… The towering bronze statue depicts Roosevelt riding a horse, as two nameless African and Native American men flank him on foot.
It has provoked strong debate in the city, as many criticized the apparent subservience of the pair to the White man in the center — calling the scene a symbol of racism and colonialism.
“The statue was meant to celebrate Theodore Roosevelt … as a devoted naturalist and author of works on natural history,” the museum website has said about the removal. “At the same time, the statue itself communicates a racial hierarchy that the Museum and members of the public have long found disturbing.”…
The Roosevelt statue will be on long-term loan to the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library due to open in 2026, in North Dakota, where Roosevelt spent time in the Badlands. The presidential library was termed “a fitting new home” by New York City officials when the decision was made last year, noting it could be “appropriately contextualized” there.
Library trustees agreed the statue was “problematic in its composition” and said in a statement they would be establishing an advisory council comprising representatives from Indigenous and Black communities, historians, scholars, and artists to determine next steps…
For the moment, white supremacist ‘history enthusiasts’ can combine a trip to check up on ol’ Teedy with their pilgrimage to Kristi Noem’s Mount Rushmore. And once the country has recovered from the current political extinction burst, the TR Library can quietly relocate the statue, possibly as a marker to the restrooms.