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Natural history museum removes Theodore Roosevelt statue

By Megan Hadley
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Natural history museum removes Theodore Roosevelt statue
The bronze statue of Theodore Roosevelt at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City is seen on October 17, 2014. The statue has been removed and will be relocated to North Dakota. File Photo by Mike Steele/Flickr

Jan. 20 (UPI) -- The American Museum of Natural History has removed the Theodore Roosevelt statue that was located in front of the building in New York City.

The statue, which stood for over 80 years, was gone Thursday morning.

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"Restoration of the plaza in front of the Museum will continue through the spring. The removal and restoration work is estimated to cost around $2 million," the museum said in a statement to Gothamist.

The statue features former President Theodore Roosevelt and African American and Native American figures holding "subservient positions" to him.

Protests against the statue began as far back as the 1970s, and again in 2017.

Then-Mayor Bill de Blasio formed a commission in 2017 to evaluate the statue. Members were divided over how to properly deal with the picture depicted and added a sign with more information and context.

Later, the museum asked the city, which owns the statue, to remove it from their premises.

The statue will be kept in New York until it is ready to be shipped to North Dakota, where the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library is slated to open in 2026. An advisory council will guide efforts to contextualize the statue as a tool for studying the nation's past.

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