Statement on Objectionable Collection Content and Descriptive Terms
The New-York Historical Society’s collections reflect the time in which they were produced.
Although some collection items may be objectionable by contemporary standards, they also provide invaluable historical insights into the realities of daily life in New York and the nation. While continuing to make these items available to visitors in person and online, we have started adding notes to collection descriptions that will alert visitors to disturbing content.
The language used to describe collections, such as in catalog records, is also a product of its time. To the extent possible, outmoded language introduced by past descriptive practices will be replaced with current language that is respectful to people and events. In some cases, the original language of description may be retained to provide historical context and facilitate research and discovery.
This review of the content and description of New-York Historical collections is ongoing and a work in progress.