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Angered by This Roosevelt Statue? A Museum Wants Visitors to Weigh In

Category: Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion
People stand outside the museum's entrance, dwarfed by the massive bronze statue of teddy Roosevelt on horseback, with a male Native American figure standing on one side and a male African American figure standing on the other.
The statue of Theodore Roosevelt by James Earle Fraser has been linked with the image of the American Museum of Natural History and for decades has been seen by many as a problematic depiction of racial hierarchy.CreditCreditMary Inhea Kang for The New York Times

How does a museum and a community grapple with a founder’s history of racist statements and a controversial statue in his honor?

“I was always known as the guy with that really obnoxious statue outside of his museum; I’ve never liked it,” Dr. Thomas said in an interview. “We’re supposed to be building some bridges into indigenous communities, and this is a tough way to do it.”

“But that said, I don’t think that we ought to just blow it up,” he added. “I think it’s a statement in time about where the museum was.”

-Dr. David Hurst Thomas, Curator of Anthropology

Conversation about monuments has reached a fever pitch, and the city was split on this one. The American Museum of Natural History is opening an exhibition on it. There's a quote that takes up its own wall at the American Museum of Natural History's newest exhibition: It's more important to tell the truth about the president - pleasant or unpleasant - than about anyone else.

Continue Reading at Nytimes

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