Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

US National Archives apologises for altering

Credit: Leigh Vogel for The New York Times.

National Archives Apologizes for Altering Image of 2017 Women’s March, The New York Times, 18 January 2020

A photo from the march displayed at the National Archives was altered to blur signs that were critical of President Trump or might be offensive, officials said.

The National Archives and Records Administration, which calls itself the country’s record keeper, apologized on Saturday for altering a photo of protesters at the 2017 Women’s March that blurred out references critical of President Trump.

“We made a mistake,” began a statement the archives released on Saturday.

The photo of protesters holding signs was part of an exhibit, “Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote,” which examined the struggle of women to gain the right to vote.

But signs critical of the president that appeared in the photo — including one that said “God Hates Trump” — were doctored to blur out Mr. Trump’s name, according to The Washington Post, which first reported on the alterations.

Initially, in a statement to The Post, an archives spokeswoman defended the decision and said “modifying the image was an attempt on our part to keep the focus on the records.”

This statement was posted on the back of a photo that was turned around on Saturday at the National Archives.Credit…Leigh Vogel for The New York Times.

“As a nonpartisan, nonpolitical federal agency, we blurred references to the president’s name on some posters, so as not to engage in current political controversy,” the spokeswoman, Miriam Kleiman, said.

But by Saturday afternoon, three museum officials were seen turning around the photo display, which was a lenticular image that from one perspective showed the 2017 Women’s March and from a different perspective shimmered to a 1913 photo of a women’s demonstration on Pennsylvania Avenue.

The display was positioned so that only a blank canvas could be seen. Officials then posted a statement to the public that also apologized for the alterations.

“In a promotional display in this spot, we obscured some words on protest signs in a photo of the 2017 Women’s March,” the statement said. “This photo is not an archival record held by the National Archives but one we licensed to use as a promotional graphic. Nonetheless, we were wrong to alter the image.”

The statement said the display would be replaced “as soon as possible with one that uses the unaltered image.” It also said that a review would begin immediately into what happened.

Council of Australasian Museum Directors c/o Lynley Crosswell, Museums Victoria, GPO Box 666, Melbourne VIC 3001, © CAMD 2023
Disclaimer: The content of this website is provided for information purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. No claim is made as to the accuracy or authenticity of the content of the website. The Council of Australasian Museum Directors does not accept any liability to any person for the information or advice (or the use of such information or advice) which is provided on this website. The information on our website is provided on the basis that all persons accessing the site undertake responsibility for assessing the relevance and accuracy of its content. No responsibility is taken for any information or services which may appear on any linked web sites. Hostgator.