The independent agency is in charge of preserving government/historical records "without alteration." Yet, it censored images of anti-Trump signs during a recent exhibit on women’s suffrage. The Washington Post first reported the altered images on Friday which angered readers.
As a result, the agency issued a statement admitting that it "made a mistake."
"We made a mistake," the National Archives tweeted. "As the National Archives of the United States, we are and have always been completely committed to preserving our archival holdings, without alteration."
The photograph that sparked the outrage was taken during the 2017 Women's March. The altered picture was taken by Getty Images' Mario Tama and shows a group of women marching in Washington, D.C. the day Trump was inaugurated. The agency blurred from signs that read "God Hates Trump" and "Trump & GOP — Hands Off Women."
In the statement, the agency explains that this image was licensed as a "promotional graphic" and not an archival picture. It told the Washington Post that the decision to blur Trump's name was due to its position "as a non-partisan, non-political federal agency." Censoring the message would allow it to avoid engaging in the "current political controversy."
"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," National Archives spokeswoman Miriam Kleiman to the Post.
The National Archives has now removed the display and will replace it with unaltered images.