MABEL O. WILSON: I think Fraser as a sculptor meant to depict them in a very sympathetic way, with dignity. And today these voices are intensifying. The equestrian statue depicts Theodore Roosevelt on horseback. It’s sort of not known. Teddy Roosevelt, as we’ve come to know him and love him with a bandana and his Rough Rider kind of gear. I mean he’s holding the horse, it’s reined. An iconic statue of Republican president Theodore Roosevelt was removed from the front of the American Museum of Natural History in New … So I’m not—it’s a nice, like, you can take nice selfies. It’s a beautifully crafted work of art. MABEL O. WILSON: Here was Theodore Roosevelt, great American figure, stalwart, riding on his horse. I don’t know. During his tenure in office, he saved over 234 million acres of wild America—places like the Grand Canyon, Muir Woods. The Equestrian Statue of Theodore Roosevelt was commissioned in 1925 to stand on the steps of the Museum, on city-owned property. At the same time, the statue itself communicates a racial hierarchy that the Museum and members of the public have long found disturbing. After his presidency, Theodore Roosevelt goes to Africa. The Natural History Museum in New York will remove a controversial statue from its entrance, a review of Kimberly Drew's new book, and more. The Museum is open! DAVID HURST THOMAS (CURATOR OF ANTHROPOLOGY, AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY): Statues are powerful things and we're taking a hard look at our history and how do we deal with that? A sort of robe that leaves the figure more exposed. The statue at the Central Park West entrance depicts Roosevelt on a horse flanked by racist caricatures of Indigenous people on foot walking alongside him. And, in honor of Theodore Roosevelt’s role as a leading conservationist, the Museum’s Hall of Biodiversity will be named for him. It is located on public park land at the American Museum of Natural History, New York City. Most people don't know that a lot of these national parks were made possible by the evacuation of indigenous populations. This project seeks to provide visitors with greater context for the statue by presenting the intention of the original planning commission as well as the intentions of the architect who designed the memorial and the sculptor who created the statue; the ways in which the statue is interpreted today; and multiple perspectives on how the statue might be addressed in the future. ALEXANDRIA (MUSEUM VISITOR): I know it hurts a lot of my people in particular, it hurts a lot of minorities in general. NEW YORK: The American Museum of Natural History will remove a prominent statue of Theodore Roosevelt from its entrance after years of objections that it symbolises colonial expansion and racial discrimination, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday. This story has been shared 427,123 times. Conservationism gave us our national park system and Roosevelt's probably best remembered for that. For more than a dozen years, Marion Reid, 77, had walked past the statue of Theodore Roosevelt on his way to work in information technology at the American Museum of … Over the last few weeks, our Museum community has been profoundly moved by the ever-widening movement for racial justice that has emerged after the killing of George Floyd. We also have watched as the attention of the world and the country has increasingly turned to statues and monuments as powerful and hurtful symbols of systemic racism. What did the artists and planners intend? [CHAPTER TITLE: THE FUTURE OF THE STATUE]. The Museum will remain the site of New York State’s official memorial to Theodore Roosevelt. So I mean that's the power of sculpture, says the sculptor. TOM (MUSEUM VISITOR): The fact that the African is naked or practically naked, we’re calling them a primitive society. The statue has been criticized — and defaced — in the past for glorifying colonialism and racism. DOUGLAS BRINKLEY: You have to look at people at their time period and Theodore Roosevelt, 1901 to 1909, if you’re comparing him, he was quite enlightened. SHAWNEE RICE: We’re here to show our dislike for that statue and say our demands that we wish for it to come down. DAVID THOMAS: I’ve been here for parts of five decades, and every one of those decades we’ve had protest against the TR statue. Roosevelt was very much a part of that debate around whether or not you could actually breed better humans. JOHN (MUSEUM VISITOR): First impressions of the statue are that it’s a magnificent piece of work, and that it's massive. DOUGLAS BRINKLEY (PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, RICE UNIVERSITY): It’s a beautifully rendered equestrian statue, but the symbolism of the statue is always problematic. But there’s always an aesthetics to race. And then there were those that you didn’t want to mate with. On the other hand, he was an imperialist figure there. Should this be in the front of the museum? When you read some of his writings you cringe because it has such a feeling of white supremacy. 149,427, © 2020 NYP Holdings, Inc. All Rights Reserved Reserve your timed-entry tickets today, or donate to help the Museum's relief and recovery efforts. The Jefferson and Roosevelt statues aren’t the only two historic sculptures under the microscope in New York City. I think it’s better to expand the people that are being honored in our public spaces. The political reality is that that statue is where it is because that's where the state of New York wanted it. NARRATOR: Architect John Russell Pope won a competition to design the memorial at the Museum, consisting of a new building, murals and other works of art. And how should we view this historic sculpture today? The City determined that the Roosevelt statue would remain in place but that more information should be provided. Directions, ticket info, and visitor tips. Something, anything else but this. NARRATOR: In 2017, the Mayor of New York formed a Commission to examine troubling monuments throughout the city. We've received your submission. ALEKSANDRA (MUSEUM VISITOR): I think statues should be where they are. The Indian figure is sort of cast as this sort of vanishing, disappearing figure of the past. And that was the narrative that was communicated to me. These were complicated figures. “The City supports the Museum’s request. NIGEL (MUSEUM VISITOR): Should this be on the main street? This story has been shared 163,810 times. It was unveiled to the public in 1940, as part of a larger New York State memorial to former N.Y. governor and U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. No, I would put a dinosaur over here. We must also acknowledge the Museum’s own imperfect history. There's the Rough Rider legacy of him on San Juan Hill that makes him a war hero. What is the meaning of this statue? There’s something that’s itchy about the statue, that rubs us the wrong way, that’s just not quite right. The artist was very competent and knew how to show Roosevelt as the powerful figure, by putting everybody else in his wake. 163,810, This story has been shared 149,427 times. In this Nov. 17, 2017 file photo, visitors to the American Museum of Natural History in New York look at a statue of Theodore Roosevelt, flanked by … GREG (MUSEUM VISITOR): It could be seen as a friendship. ANDREW ROSS: I would remove it from public view. A statue of Teddy Roosevelt outside the American Museum of Natural History. as one of the great New Yorkers. To understand the statue, we must recognize our country’s enduring legacy of racial discrimination—as well as Roosevelt’s troubling views on race. RAYMOND (MUSEUM VISITOR): It looks good right in front of the museum also. And then there’s the two figures, which I think many people miss. DOUGLAS BRINKLEY: He is our great conservation president. The statue was meant to celebrate Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) as a devoted naturalist and author of works on natural history. Someone was seen around the … And that's what makes it so problematic. Sculptor James Earle Fraser was chosen to execute Pope’s vision of the statue, which was unveiled in 1940. [TITLE: PERSPECTIVES ON THE EQUESTRIAN STATUE OF THEODORE ROOSEVELT]. Show me what democracy looks like. The Roosevelt Family has a long association with the Museum, beginning with the President’s father and continuing with his great-grandson, Theodore Roosevelt IV, who serves as a Museum Trustee. SCOTT MANNING STEVENS: I'm not inclined to tear things down because I really sincerely believe it erases history, and history is hard and unpleasant. DEVYN LAFOREY-COLTER: I don’t feel offended by the statue, I feel like they did something wrong with the statue. [CHAPTER TITLE:  THE MAKING OF THE STATUE]. 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