It was past midnight when a crane lowered the majestic bronze statue of Theodore Roosevelt, lifting his upper body from its pedestal, where it has been housed at the American Museum of Natural History since 1940. The remains of the The sculpture, now surrounded by scaffolding, is expected to leave section by week. Side by side are representations of a Native American man and an African man walking, the president’s shadow on horseback dwindling by day.
A spokesman for the organization said the relocation process, worth about $2 million, was carried out with historic preservation experts and several dozen workers. It has been approved by many New York City agencies.
New York City Public Design Commission voted last June to remove the statue; in november, its destination – the new one Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library in Medora, ND – was announced. The statue is being moved to storage and will be delivered to the presidential library within the next few weeks.
The removal shrouds a decades-long protest story by critics, who say the equestrian statue symbolizes the painful legacy of museums promoting images of colonialism and colonialism. racist in their exhibitions. Activists have targeted the monument since the 1970s; in recent years, they tried to cover the sculpture with a parachute and blur it with Red paint. Holland Cotter, co-head of art criticism for The New York Times, described the statue as one of the best pictureand memorials, in New York City.
The museum’s president, Ellen V. Futter, said in an interview with The New York Times when she announced the sculpture is about to be dismantled in 2020.
The statue, designed by American sculptor James Earle Fraser in 1939, is one of four memorials that a city committee was revisited in 2017, ultimately deciding in a split decision to stay in place and add more context. Its Exhibition 2019“Speaking Before the Statue,” discusses the figures who walked alongside Roosevelt and Roosevelt’s complex legacy, including openly racist in the last years of his life.
But efforts to contextualize the statue are of little significance to those who see it as a barometer of the heated national debate over who is honored in bronze and marble. Protesters across the political arena used Roosevelt monument as a background give their opinion on this topic. And national efforts to remove statues of Confederate generals like Robert E. Lee have expanded to include figures like Christopher Columbus and Winston Churchill.
The most recent example of a monument being removed in New York was that of another former president: In November, the City Council to move a statue of Thomas Jefferson from its chambers for the New-York Historical Society after lawmakers protested the president’s legacy as a slave.
Anne Canty, a spokeswoman for the natural history museum, says the square in front of its entrance will be restored – a project that will continue through spring. At that point, a plaque will mark the continuing site of New York State’s Theodore Roosevelt Memorial, which still includes the Rotunda and the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial in the museum.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/19/arts/design/theodore-roosevelt-statue-natural-history-museum.html Demolition of Theodore Roosevelt statue begins at the Natural History Museum