The National Archives on Wednesday installed an original photograph of the 2017 Women’s March days after removing an altered one that censored signs referencing women’s anatomy and President Donald Trump’s name.
The original photograph, taken by Getty Images’ Mario Tama, shows a sea of people marching down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC, on January 21, 2017 — a day after Trump’s inauguration. In changes to the original photo, Trump’s name was blurred from signs that read “God Hates Trump” and “Trump & GOP — Hands Off Women,” according to The Washington Post, which first reported the altered photo Friday.
Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero said in a statement the National Archives installed the unaltered photograph on Wednesday next to a photograph of the suffrage march in Washington, DC in 1913.
He said he takes “full responsibility” for the decision to display the altered photo and the “broader concerns it has raised,” and that the decision “was made without any external direction whatsoever.”
“We wanted to use the 2017 Women’s March image to connect the suffrage exhibit with relevant issues today. We also wanted to avoid accusations of partisanship or complaints that we displayed inappropriate language in a family-friendly Federal museum,” Ferriero said in a statement. “With those concerns in mind, and because the image was not our archival record, but was commercially-licensed and used as a graphic component outside of the gallery space, we felt this was an acceptable and prudent choice.”
A temporary display now displays the 1913 photograph and the unaltered 2017 photograph. The original display with be changed to show the unaltered image and reinstalled when it is ready.
National Archives on Saturday apologized in a statement and vowed to undergo “a thorough review” of its policies and procedures for exhibits.
“We apologize, and will immediately start a thorough review of our exhibit policies and procedures so that this does not happen again,” it said.