The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library, which is supposed to open in Medora, North Dakota, in 2026, declared their agreement with the City of New York for a long-term loan.
"We are grateful to the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library for proposing a fitting new home for the Equestrian Statue," Vicki Been, New York City's Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development, announced according to a statement.
"This long-term loan would allow an important part of the City's art collection to be appropriately contextualized, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Library on next steps."
The Roosevelt statue was selected by the Board of Trustees of the New York State Roosevelt Memorial in 1929 and has greeted visitors at the front of the American Museum of Natural History since 1940.
The piece was sculpted by James Earl Fraser and designed to "celebrate Theodore Roosevelt as a devoted naturalist and author of works on natural history," the museum states on its website, and remarks that Roosevelt's father, Theodore Roosevelt Sr., was one of the Museum's founders.
The statue has long been denounced, though, for its depiction of Roosevelt on horseback alongside a black man and Native American, which haters have announced signifies a racial hierarchy in which Roosevelt stands higher than the other two.
"Rather than burying a troubling work of art, we ought to learn from it," Theodore Roosevelt V, a descendant of the late president, announced.
"It is fitting that the statue is being relocated to a place where its composition can be recontextualized to facilitate difficult, complex, and inclusive discussions."
In 2019, the Museum ran an exhibit regarding the statue and how it was observed by the public. The "Addressing the Statue" exhibition opened up a conversation with museum attendees regarding the place of the statue in the modern world.
Objections to the statue grew more forceful in recent years, particularly after the murder of George Floyd that sparked a racial reckoning and a wave of demonstrations across the nation.
The Museum is on city-owned property, and Mayor Bill de Blasio backed the removal of the "problematic statue."
"The American Museum of Natural History has asked to remove the Theodore Roosevelt statue because it explicitly depicts Black and Indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior," de Blasio announced back then.
"The City supports the Museum's request. It is the right decision and the right time to remove this problematic statue."