Former U.S. archivist and Kansas Gov. John Carlin says the blurring of images from the 2017 Women's March on Washington breaches public trust and undermines democracy.

The National Archives, for a promotional exhibit on the 19th Amendment, altered a photograph that showed messages critical of President Donald Trump and references to women's anatomy. The institution apologized Saturday and said it would replace the altered photo.

Carlin, who served as governor from 1979 to 1987 and archivist under presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, said the National Archives "is a public trust on which we depend for authentic records that document our rights, the actions of federal officials, and the story of our national experience."

He said he was surprised by the recent Washington Post story that revealed the blurring of signs held by women in the 2017 march.

"In today’s political climate, era of 'fake news' and decreasing trust in public institutions, it is more important than ever that the integrity of records and the stories they tell are available to our citizens," Carlin said.

The Women's Marches that took place across the United States in 2017 to protest Trump as he took office are considered to be one of the largest protests in U.S. history. An estimated 3 to 5 million people participated, including 470,000 in Washington, D.C.

On Saturday, thousands of women joined in marches in Kansas and across the country for what has become an annual event.

The Archives said it blurred photos in a display for women's suffrage because it wasn't to avoid political controversy.

Trump's name was removed from placards reading "God Hates Trump" and "Trump & GOP — Hands Off Women." Signs that read “If my vagina could shoot bullets, it’d be less REGULATED” and "This Pussy Grabs Back" had "vagina" and "pussy" erased.

"Altering evidence of our history, even if it is not an official record of the National Archives, breaches that trust and undermines our democracy," Carlin said. "I am gratified to see the Archives is moving quickly to correct what they have acknowledged as a mistake."