The Roosevelt statue was removed from the New York Museum after the controversy

(CNN) – The statue of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, which was about 80 years old before the New York Museum, was removed this week following criticism of its “ethnic” image.

The sculpture, located in the Museum of Natural History, had the 26th President on horseback with an Native American and an African man on either side of him.

Photo: Caitlin Oaks / Reuters

A museum spokeswoman told CNN in a written statement on Thursday that the removal of the statue had “been carried out by historians and approved by various New York City agencies.” This includes the restoration of the square in front of the museum.

Removal work began Tuesday and the sculpture was gone Thursday after a year and a half of processing.

The museum first demanded the removal of the statue in June 2020, following the global protests that followed the assassination of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Roosevelt statue joins others

The Roosevelt statue now joins other American monuments that have been relocated in recent months. Most of these removals were triggered by the 2020 protests.

“The statue represents a racial hierarchy that members of the museum and the public have long been obsessed with,” the museum wrote in its June request. In the structure of the statue it is stated: The white man, Roosevelt, is standing in the center on horseback, with the other two men walking behind him.

In this December 2, 2021 photo, construction workers begin removing a statue of Theodore Roosevelt. Thanks to: Yuki Iwamura / AFP / Getty Images

That June 2020 request was approved by then-New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. A year later, the New York City Public Design Commission unanimously voted to remove the sculpture and preserve it temporarily.

The new home for the statue was announced last November: two hours west of Bismarck, in Medora, North Dakota, at the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library.

The library, which is set to open in 2026, has reached a long-term loan agreement with New York City, according to a statement.

Since 1940, the sculpture has stood in front of the New York Museum and was first commissioned to celebrate Roosevelt.

“The museum is proud to continue to be the official monument of New York State to Theodore Roosevelt,” it added in a statement.

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Eden Hayes

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