City Hall’s Thomas Jefferson Statue Will Be Relocated To New-York Historical Society

The controversial statue of Thomas Jefferson, which has stood tall over City Hall’s council chambers for a century, will be removed this year. Some city council members are hoping it will be gone by the time of their next meeting on November 23rd.

For decades, various council members have called for the removal of the statue, a 7-foot-tall depiction of the former president and slaveholder. Most recently that demand has come from the Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus.

In October, a decision came down to finally oust the statue, but its new home remained in question until Monday. During a meeting of the Public Design Commission, it was decided that the statue would go on temporary loan to the New-York Historical Society.

Read More: City Commission Votes To Remove Thomas Jefferson Statue From City Hall

In October, the commission’s president, Signe Nielsen, expressed concern about relocating it to the NYHS, saying the statue needed to remain free for the public to see “in the public realm.” Their solution: place the statue in a space in the museum that is open to the public without a fee.

According to the NY Times, the statue “will be placed in [the NYHS’s] lobby gallery for six months before being relocated to the museum’s reading room for the duration of the 10-year loan agreement. Both locations are accessible to the public in areas not requiring a ticket.”

NYHS’s Director of Public Relations, Marybeth Ihle, sent Gothamist this statement about the statue’s future there: “Following the decision for it to be loaned to New-York Historical’s museum, the statue of Thomas Jefferson will be initially displayed in the main gallery on our first floor. After six months, the statue will be moved to a prominent location in our Library Reading Room, which is free and open to the public. In both locations, the statue will be given appropriate historical context, including details of Thomas Jefferson’s complicated legacy—his contributions as a founder and draftsman of the Declaration of Independence and the contradiction between his vision of human equality and his ownership of enslaved people—and the statue’s original purpose as a tribute to Jefferson’s staunch defense of freedom of religion and separation of church and state.”

In 2001, Council Member Charles Barron made the first push for the removal of the Jefferson statue, asking that it be replaced with one of Malcolm X. In October, Barron said the Jefferson statue “should be destroyed,” not just relocated.



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