The National Archives, which contains some of the country's founding documents like the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, apologized for blurring parts of an image from the 2017 Women's March critical of President Donald Trump.
"We apologize, and will immediately start a thorough review of our exhibit policies and procedures so that this does not happen again," the National Archives Twitter account wrote.
The Archives said the photo was "not an archival record" and was instead a photo used as a promotional graphic for an exhibit on women's suffrage.
The Women's March took place on Jan. 21, 2017, a day after Trump was inaugurated as president, and was in part a protest of Trump's past controversial statements about women.
The original photo, a wide shot of the March going down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. by Getty Images photographer Mario Tama, was the promotional display for an exhibit on women's suffrage. According to a photo comparison published by the Washington Post, the version of the photo on display in the National Archives had blurred out the anti-Trump slogans of some of the signs, as well as references to female genitalia.
The controversy erupted on the same day as the latest Women's March attracted thousands in the nation's capital.
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We made a mistake.
As the National Archives of the United States, we are and have always been completely committed to preserving our archival holdings, without alteration. pic.twitter.com/VTWOS4R7GY
- US National Archives (@USNatArchives) January 18, 2020
The editing of the image was heavily criticized on social media.
Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, slammed the editing as "Soviet-style censorship and silencing of voices of dissent."
The US National Archives digitally altering and manipulating photos from the Women's March is further evidence of the death of democracy. This is Soviet-style censorship and silencing of voices of dissent. pic.twitter.com/lmFAGjQ4zO
- Kristen Clarke (@KristenClarkeJD) January 18, 2020
The ACLU Twitter account called it an attempt to "airbrush history."
The government can't airbrush history or erase women's bodies from it. It is the job of the National Archives to document history, not alter it to serve the president's ego. https://t.co/DlCGVnnEkk
- ACLU (@ACLU) January 18, 2020
"Info integrity is at stake," said historian Karin Wulf.
This story abt @USNatArchives presenting an altered image in an exhibit rightly getting a lot of attn.
I see folks distinguishing mission & practice of exhibits & archiving (the image itself not held by NARA).
Just no. Info integrity is at stake. 1/https://t.co/52Z9lnio8O
- Karin Wulf (@kawulf) January 18, 2020
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Women's March: National Archives apologizes for blurring anti-Trump signs