In a statement, federal museum officials admitted they had made a mistake and added that they had removed the photo from the display and would replace it with an unedited version “as soon as possible.”
The agency also said it would immediately begin a “thorough review” of its exhibit policies and procedures.
“We made a mistake,” the statement, posted to Twitter, said. “As the National Archives of the United States, we are and have always been completely committed to preserving our archival holdings, without alteration.”
The archives issued its apology on the same day as the fourth annual Women’s March in Washington, D.C.
The photo, taken by Getty Images photographer Mario Tama, was resized and displayed in an archival exhibit celebrating the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage.
The edited version of the image censored Trump’s name in a number of signs held by the protesters, including one that read “God Hates Trump” and “Trump & GOP ― Hands Off Women.”
Signs referring to women’s genitals, including ones featuring “vagina” or “pussy,” were also censored. Those words were blurred out on signs that read “If my vagina could shoot bullets, it’d be less REGULATED” and “This Pussy Grabs Back.”
The signs were in reference to Republicans’ efforts to curtail reproductive choice and expand gun rights, as well as the infamous recording of Trump saying he could “grab [women] by the pussy” whenever he wants.
Officials admitted that the photo had indeed been edited after The Washington Post published a report on the matter on Friday, angering readers and historians over the censorship of history.
Miriam Kleiman, a spokeswoman for the National Archives, told the Post that Trump’s name was blurred out in an attempt for the museum to avoid engaging in controversy. She also said the censorship was in consideration for young people, including students, whom the museum occasionally hosts.
“As a non-partisan, non-political federal agency, we blurred references to the President’s name on some posters, so as not to engage in current political controversy,” Kleiman told the paper in an email. “Our mission is to safeguard and provide access to the nation’s most important federal records, and our exhibits are one way in which we connect the American people to those records. Modifying the image was an attempt on our part to keep the focus on the records.”
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