Brazil National Museum, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The National Museum, linked to the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), is the oldest scientific institution in Brazil that, until September 2018, figured as one of the largest museums of natural history and anthropology in the Americas. It is located inside the Quinta da Boa Vista park, in the city of Rio de Janeiro, being installed in the São Cristóvão Palace. The palace served as a residence for the Portuguese royal family from 1808 to 1821, housed the Brazilian imperial family from 1822 to 1889 and hosted the firstRepublican Constituent Assembly from 1889 to 1891, before being used for the museum in 1892. The building has been listed by the National Historical and Artistic Heritage Institute (IPHAN) since 1938. Founded by Dom João VI on June 6, 1818 under the name Royal Museum, the museum was initially installed in Campo de Santana, bringing together the legacy collection of the old House of Natural History, popularly called “Casa dos Pássaros”, created in 1784 by Viceroy Dom Luís de Vasconcelos e Sousa, in addition to other collections of mineralogy and zoology. The creation of the museum aimed to meet the interests of promoting the country’s socioeconomic progress through the dissemination of education, culture and science. Not yetcentury, it became famous as the most important museum of its kind in South America. It was incorporated into the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in 1946.

The National Museum housed a vast collection with more than 20 million items, encompassing some of the most relevant records of Brazilian memory in the field of natural and anthropological sciences, as well as wide and diverse sets of items from different regions of the planet, or produced by ancient peoples and civilizations. Formed over more than two centuries through collections, excavations, exchanges, acquisitions and donations, the collection was subdivided into collections of geology, paleontology, botany, zoology, biological anthropology (including the remnants of Luzia’s skeleton in this nucleus)., the oldest human fossil in the Americas),archeologyandethnology. It was the main basis for the research carried out by the academic departments of the museum – which develops activities in all regions of the country and in other parts of the world, including theAntarctic continent. It has one of the largestlibrariesspecializing in natural sciences in Brazil, with more than 470,000 volumes and 2,400 rare works.

In the field of education, the museum offers extension, specialization and postgraduate courses in various areas of knowledge, in addition to holding temporary exhibitions and educational activities aimed at the general public. It manages the Botanical Garden, next to the São Cristóvão Palace, in addition to the advanced campus in the city of Santa Teresa, in Espírito Santo – the Santa Lucia Biological Station, maintained in conjunction with the Professor Mello Leitão Biology Museum. A third space in the municipality of Saquarema is used as a support center for field research. Finally, he dedicates himself to editorial production, highlighting in this aspect the edition of the Archives of the National Museum, the oldest Brazilian scientific journal specializing in natural sciences, published since 1876.

On the night of September 2, 2018, a large fire hit the headquarters of the National Museum, destroying almost the entire collection on display, an invaluable and incalculable loss for historical and cultural formation not only in the country but in the world. Records of indigenous dialects and chants from communities that have already become extinct have been lost, said historian Daniel Tutushamum Puri. The building that houses the museum was also extremely damaged, with cracks, collapse of its roof, in addition to the fall of internal slabs.

On January 17, 2019, the National Museum opened its first exhibition after the fire that destroyed its collection. The collection of research on fossils of marine animals, prepared by employees of the institution, was displayed in the building of the Casa da Moeda. The public was able to find fossils 80 million years old.

In 2019, the National Museum had a budget of 85.4 million reais available for use in the works to recover the collection and infrastructure. This amount was received after the incident had repercussions, which provoked demonstrations denouncing the government’s negligence, and heated debates on social networks around the maintenance of the historic institution. Of the R $ 85.4 million reais allocated to the National Museum, R $ 55 million will come from the Union Budget for 2019, which was approved by the National Congress on December 19, 2018. The amount was indicated by deputies from the Rio de Janeiro bench and presented as an imposing amendment, approved by the Joint Budget Committee.

The institution dates back to the Royal Museum, founded by Dom João VI (1816-1826) in 1818, in an initiative to stimulate scientific knowledge in Brazil. Initially, the museum housed collections of botanical materials, stuffed animals, minerals, numismatics, works of art and machines. He inherited some of the stuffed birds from the old Casa dos Pássaros, the first Brazilian museum of natural history, founded by Viceroy Dom Luis de Vasconcelos. The first headquarters of the Royal Museum was located in Campo de Santana, in the center of the city, in a building later occupied by the National Archives.

With the marriage of Prince Dom Pedro I to Princess Maria Leopoldina of Austria, important European naturalists came to Brazil, such as Johann Baptiste von Spix and Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius, who worked for the museum. Other European researchers, such as Auguste de Saint-Hilaire and Georg Heinrich von Langsdorff, contributed, throughout the 19th century, to the collection of natural and ethnological specimens of the institution, in their respective expeditions through the country.

Particularly, after the declaration of Independence in 1822 and the appointment as Minister of the Court of José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva, an enlightened reformer and himself a trained mineralogist, public managers and museum insistently claimed for the local institution a fair share of the collected items – and, therefore, to unleash an eternal fight between foreign travelers and Brazilian museologists that would reach its peak when the Empire broke up. The museum’s position in this debate implicit in territoriality, however, was weakened by the fact that well in the second half of the century, in order to acquire collections, it had little choice but to buy them from foreign experts, such as the Werner mineral collection, purchased from the German geologist Pabst von Ohain in 1818 in 12 thousand réis.

Second Reign
In 1844, just four years after the Declaration of Majority that brought Dom Pedro II to power, the director of the museum at the time, Frei Custódio Alves Serrão, wrote a report pointing out problems in the museum due to the lack of resources for its maintenance. The report was published shortly after a budget cut approved by the Senate of the Empire, and pointed out precarious conditions in the infrastructure of the building that housed the museum, at the time located in its first headquarters, in Campo de Santana.

During the 19th century, reflecting both the preferences of Emperor Pedro II and the interest of the European public, the National Museum began to invest in the areas of anthropology, paleontology and archeology. The Emperor himself, an enthusiast from all branches of science, contributed with several pieces of Egyptian art, fossils and botanical specimens, among other items, obtained by him on his travels. In this way the National Museum was modernized and became the most important center in South America in Natural History and Human Sciences.

In 1876, the museum was renovated in Paço de São Cristóvão, at Quinta da Boa Vista, under the direction of Ladislau Netto. From then on, the museum enters its peak phase, when it receives the Bendegó meteorite, improves its physical structure, increases the salaries of employees and participates in several international exhibitions. As the collection expanded, the problem of lack of space for storage became worse, and it had already begun to be noticed in the management of João Batista de Lacerda (1895-1915).

The Emperor was still a very popular figure when he was overthrown in 1889. In this way, the Republicans sought to erase the symbols of the Empire. One of these symbols, the Paço de São Cristóvão, the official residence of the emperors, became an idle place and still represented imperial power. Then, in 1892, the National Museum, with all its collection and its researchers, was transferred from the Casa dos Pássaros to the Paço de São Cristóvão, at Quinta da Boa Vista, where it is still today.

In 1946, the Museum started to be administered by the then University of Brazil, now UFRJ. Researchers and laboratories occupy a large part of the museum and some buildings erected in Horto Botânico, in Quinta da Boa Vista. Horto is still home to one of the largest scientific libraries in Rio de Janeiro.

Financial problems and fire
With continued budget cuts, since 2014 the museum has not been receiving the budget of 520 thousand reais per year necessary for its maintenance. In 2018, when the museum completed two hundred years, the amount received plummeted to 54 thousand reais.

The building showed visible signs of poor conservation, such as peeling walls and exposed electrical wires. Several rooms were closed due to total impossibility of use. The space that housed one of the biggest attractions – the assembly of the first replica of a large dinosaur made in Brazil – closed due to being infested with termites. According to the deputy director of the Museum, Luiz Fernando Dias Duarte, the museum has struggled since 2000 to build annex buildings designed to house research that required the preservation of objects in alcohol and formaldehyde, flammable materials. Only one annex was erected, with funds from Petrobras.

On September 2, 2018, just after the end of the visiting hours, a major fire hit all three floors of the National Museum building, at Quinta da Boa Vista. Firefighters were called at 7:30 pm, arriving quickly at the scene. At 9 pm the fire was out of control, with great flames and occasional crashes, being fought by firefighters from twenty quarters. Dozens of people went to Quinta da Boa Vista to see the fire.

By 9:30 pm on September 2, entire collections had been destroyed by fire, as well as two exhibitions that were in two areas in front of the main building. The four security guards who were working at the scene managed to escape, with no record of victims.

The government of Portugal affirmed in an official note “deep sadness at the loss of an irreplaceable historical and scientific collection” and affirmed that it is “entirely available to, in what is useful and possible, collaborate in the search for the reconstruction of this important identity heritage, not only of Brazil, but from all of Latin America and the world “.

Scientific collection
The National Museum had the largest collection of natural history and anthropology in Latin America, as well as the Brazilian museological institution that has the largest number of cultural assets under its care. The museum had more than 20 million items cataloged, divided into collections of natural sciences (geology, paleontology, botany and zoology) and anthropological (biological anthropology, archeology and ethnology)). Several nuclei of the collection went back to collections started in the 18th century, such as items from the Casa dos Pássaros and the Werner Collection. Over more than two centuries, the collection has been expanded through collections and excavations, exchanges, donations and purchases. It included vast representative groups of the natural world and human production, from Brazil and other parts of the world, and had outstanding scientific, historical and artistic value, serving as the basis for carrying out a large number of scientific research, theses, dissertations and monographs. Due to the volume of the museum collection and the limited space, only a small sample of this total (about three thousand objects) was on permanent display.

The National Museum had a collection of approximately 70 thousand items related to Earth sciences, subdivided into nuclei of paleontology, mineralogy, petrology and meteorology, composed of objects from different locations in Brazil and the world. Formed since the end of the 18th century, it was one of the largest and most diverse Brazilian geological collections, characterized by its high scientific, historical and artistic value, declared a national heritage and developed largely with the help of some of the most renowned scientists and researchers the country’s geology and paleontology. Among the collaborators of the museum’s scientific activities, carried out systematically since 1842, were Wilhelm Ludwig von Eschwege (responsible for the first geological exploration of a scientific nature in Brazil), Claude-Henri Gorceix (founder of the School of Minas de Ouro Preto), Orville Derby(pioneer of Brazilian geology), Alberto Betim Paes Leme (pioneer in meteorite research in Brazil) and Ney Vidal (one of the pioneers in the collection of vertebrate fossil specimens in Northeast Brazil), among others. Also present in the collection were objects from the first major scientific expeditions carried out in Brazilian territory, organized or integrated by collaborators of the museum, namely the Thayer Expedition (led by Louis Agassiz) and the Morgan Expeditions (organized by Charles Frederick Hartt). Finally, the museum kept the collection collected byGeological Commission of the Empire, created in 1875 and directed by Charles Frederick Hartt, composed mainly of items from the North and Northeast regions of Brazil.

The National Museum holds the largest collection of meteorites in Brazil, with 62 pieces. Meteorites are celestial bodies from the interstellar medium or the solar system itself (asteroids, comets, fragments of planets and disintegrated natural satellites) that collide with the Earth’s surface. They are divided into three main groups: aerolites (rocky), siderites (metallic) and siderolites (mixed). The museum’s collection housed specimens from these three groups, including pieces of great relevance to the study of meteorology. The following stand out:

The Bendegó Meteorite, the largest ever found in Brazil and one of the largest in the world. It is a siderite, consisting of a compact mass of iron and nickel, weighing 5.36 tons and measuring more than two meters in length. It was discovered in 1784 by Domingos da Motta Botelho, on a farm outside the city of Monte Santo, in the hinterland of Bahia. A first attempt to move him to Salvadorit failed, when the wooden cart that carried it went out of control and the meteorite fell into the Bendegó stream, remaining there for over 100 years. Dom Pedro II would later order the removal of the meteorite for Rio de Janeiro. It has been in the National Museum since 1888.

The Santa Luzia meteorite, the second largest found in the country. It is also a siderite, composed mainly of iron and nickel, with 1.36 meters in length and a mass of 1.9 tons. It was found in Santa Luzia de Goiás (now Luziânia) in 1922 and donated by this municipality to the museum.

The meteorite Angra dos Reis, whose fall was spotted in Ilha Grande Bay, in January 1869, by Joaquim Carlos Travassos and two of his slaves, responsible for collecting two fragments, one of which was donated to the museum. The meteorite gave its name to a new group of achondritic aerolites – the angritos, a group of rocks that are among the oldest in the Solar System.

The Patos de Minas meteorite, a 200 kg iron siderite, discovered in 1925, in the Córrego do Areado, in Patos de Minas, Minas Gerais.

The Pará de Minas meteorite, found in 1934, also in Minas Gerais, on the Palmital farm, near the city of Pará de Minas. Siderite composed of iron and nickel with a mass of 112 kg.

The collection included dozens of smaller meteorites and fragments of meteorites with samples scattered over several collections, including specimens exhibiting the structure of Widmanstätten (patterns formed by iron and nickel crystals within octahedrite siderites). The following stand out: Avanhandava (aerolite, fall in São Paulo in 1952), Campos Sales (aerolite, fall in Ceará in 1991), Heritage (aerolite, fall in Minas Gerais in 1950), Pirapora (siderite discovered in Minas Gerais on an unknown date), Santa Catarina (nickel-rich anomalous siderite discovered in Santa Catarinain 1875) and São João Nepomuceno (15 kg siderite found in Minas Gerais on an unknown date, quite rare because it contains silicates, rich in silica, similar only to the Steinbach Meteorite). Among the foreign specimens, the highlights are the Brenham meteorites (siderolite found in 1882 in Kansas, United States), Carlton (siderite found in Texas, United States, in 1887), Glen Rose (siderite found in Texas in 1937), Henbury (siderite found in the MacDonnell mountain range in Australia in 1922) and Krasnojarsk (found in Siberia,Russia, in 1749, the first specimen of siderolite palasite identified).

Mineralogy and petrology
The collection of minerals and rocks of the National Museum was one of the oldest segments of its collection, having been collected since the end of the 18th century. It was characterized by its didactic approach, reflecting the 19th century conception of public collections of mineralogy as spaces for the dissemination of basic knowledge, aiming to make available to teachers of natural sciences practical elements for complementary theoretical activities. Its original nucleus corresponded to the Werner Collection – a batch of 3,326 mineralogical specimens classified by Abraham Gottlob Werner, the founder of modern mineralogy and geognosy, cataloged and published between 1791 and 1793. The collection consisted of samples of almost all mineral species hitherto known and had great historical value, as it was the first classified modern mineralogical collection. It was acquired in Germany from Carl Eugenius Pabst von Ohain (employee of the Academia de Minas de Freiberg), by the Kingdom of Portugal, probably in 1805. The acquisition, ordered by Antônio de Araújo Azevedo, then Minister of Foreign Affairs and War, was aimed at to expand the collection of the Royal Museum of Natural History of Lisbon. However, on the occasion of thetransfer of the Portuguese court to Rio de Janeiro in 1808, the Werner Collection was brought to Brazil, initially comprising the collection of the Royal Military Academy, until being incorporated into the National Museum in 1818.

Other important mineralogical collections were incorporated into the museum’s collection in the early 19th century, such as the valuable private collection by José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva, consisting of items collected during his studies in the field of mineralogy carried out in Europe in the 1790s, samples of minerals from Casa dos Pássaros and specimens transferred from the collections of the imperial family. The various expeditions organized by the museum throughout the second half of the 19th century and the 20th century resulted in the addition of several other pieces. The vast set of quartz specimens, of the colorless (rock crystal) and colored varieties (amethyst, rose quartz andhematoid quartz), the mica group minerals (muscovite, biotite and lepidolite), a set of California crystals and pieces of historical importance – such as a specimen of silicified echinoid (identified as chalcedony), probably from the collection of the Empress Leopoldine, an element prominent in the museum’s first exhibitions, and a sample of quartz from Minas Gerais, donated by President Getúlio Vargas to the museum in 1940.

The rock collection was composed of sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous specimens. Noteworthy were the items collected during the first expedition of geologists and paleontologists from the National Museum to Antarctica, between January and February 2007, such as specimens of sedimentary rocks from the Cretaceous (from the Whiskey Bay Formation) and carbonate concretions in sandstone (from the Formation Santa Marta), in addition to rare pieces such as samples of pisolitic limestone from the São Jose de Itaboraí Basin, one of the most important fossiliferous deposits of the Paleocenefrom Brazil, whose limestone reserves were explored by the cement industry until depletion, and historical specimens, such as a sample of oil from Poço do Lobato, the first well to produce oil in Brazil, drilled in Bahia in 1939.

The National Museum had one of the most significant paleontological collections in Latin America, totaling about 56 thousand specimens and 18,900 records, divided into paleobotany, paleoinvertebrate and paleovertebrate nuclei. It consisted mainly of fossils of plants and animals, from Brazil and other countries, as well as reconstructions, replicas, models and molds. The collection stood out for the presence of nuclei of recognized scientific and historical value, collected in remote times, contemporary to the emergence of paleontology itself. The first fossils sent to the institution were excavated in Uruguay in 1826, by the Prussian naturalist Friedrich Sellow. In the following decades, the collaboration of foreign naturalists would be fundamental for the expansion of the paleontological collection (especially the Italian Giovanni Michelotti, between 1836 and 1837), as well as the acquisitions made by Frederico Leopoldo César Burlamaque, then director-general of the museum, responsible for gathering sets of fossils of ichthyosaurs from the Jurassic of England and mammals from Northeast Brazil. In the last third of the 19th century, the collection was greatly expanded thanks to expeditions carried out by the Geological Commission of the Empire, led by Charles Frederick Hartt and integrated by Orville Derby. In the 20th century, already with the provision of local professionals and specialized paleontologists, the institution was able to expand the studies, investigations and expeditions that would help to consolidate the encyclopedic nature of its paleontological collection.

The paleobotany nucleus had more than four thousand cataloged specimens, representative of the fossil flora of Brazil and other parts of the world and dated from all geological periods. It was mostly composed of vegetables from the Paleozoic Era, especially fossils of Neopaleozoic age, from the basins of the Paraná and Parnaíba rivers and the Chapada do Araripe, such as leaves, fruits, seeds, stems and trunks. Specimens of the Glossopteris (Glossopteridales) flora predominated and, to a lesser extent, Lepidodendrales, Lycopodiales, Equisetales, Pteridophyta, Ginkgophyta, Cycadophyta, Coniferophyta and Anthophyta. There were abundant specimens notable for both their historical importance – namely a sample of the first fossil plant collected in the country, a trunk of the Psaronius brasiliensis species, from the Permian period, described in Paris by the botanist Adolphe Brongniart in 1872 – and by the scientific value – such as specimens of dicotyledonous leaves from Cenozoic sedimentsfrom Bahia, distinguished by the excellent state of conservation, and the set of plant fossils collected by the museum staff in Antarctica.

The paleoinvertebrate nucleus was the most voluminous in the palentological collection, totaling around ten thousand records and 46 thousand copies, coming from Brazil and, to a lesser extent, from North America and Europe. It consisted primarily by fossil arthropods (mosquitoes, ephemeropteran, dragonfly, bees, bugs, beetles, spiders, scorpions, crabs, etc.) Brachiopods (copies Mucrospirifer pedroanus, first fossils period Devoniancollected and studied in Brazil, in the 1870s), echinoderms (noting the vast set of hedgehog species) and mollusks. Among the pieces of foreign origin, the collection of fossils from the Paris Basin stood out, a set of fossilized shells of marine bivalves from the Eocene, offered to Dom Pedro II in 1872, on the occasion of his first visit to France. The collection was considered rare due to the destruction of the fossiliferous deposits around Paris over the past two centuries.

The paleovertebrate nucleus housed around ten thousand specimens and seven thousand records, with the fossil fauna of the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras collected in sedimentary basins in Brazil standing out in terms of volume. It was notable for the presence of items of great scientific relevance, especially fossil records with preservation of soft parts. It mainly covered fossil specimens of reptiles, fish, mammals and birds. Among the sets in the collection, the following stand out:

Fish fossils, mostly dated from the Cretaceous and from the Crato and Romualdo formations, in the Araripe Basin, Ceará, represented in the collection by specimens such as the Calamopleurus audax (which could reach up to two meters in length), the Cladocyclus gardneri (measuring more than one meter long), the Araripichthys castilhoi (highlighted by the rounded shape of the body), in addition to rays (Iansan beurleni), primitive sharks (Tribodus limae) and celacantids (Axelrodichthys araripensis);

A set of exceptionally preserved turtle fossils, most of which date from the Cretaceous – Araripemys barretoi (the oldest known Brazilian tortoise, from Chapada do Araripe), Cearachelys placidoi (the only known species in the Bothremydidae family in Brazil and the oldest record for this group in the world, also from Chapada do Araripe), Bauruemys elegans (freshwater turtle, collected in the Bauru Basin, in São Paulo), etc. – in addition to other fossilized terrestrial and aquatic reptiles – namely the complete skeleton of a Stereosternum (Permian aquatic lizard)belonging to the oldest group of known amiota with adaptations to life in the water, also from São Paulo) and a fossilized specimen of Squamata (collected from the paleontological sites of Lago Crato, Ceará);

The collection of fossil records of pterosaurs, mostly from Chapada do Araripe and dated from the Cretaceous, ranging from fragments to complete and assembled skeletons, as well as reconstructions based on the original fossils – large specimens such as the Tropeognathus mesembrinus (one of the largest pterosaurs that inhabited Gondwana, with an eight meter wide opening), the Cearadáctilo (with an average wingspan of 5.50 meters), the Anhanguera (wingspan of 4.60 meters) and the Tupandactylus imperator (average wingspan of 2.50 meters) meters) – as well as fossil records of foreign pterosaurs, with specimens from China, such as Nurhachius ignaciobritoi (Cretaceous, Chaoyang Formation) and Jeholopterus ningchengensis (Jurassic, Tiaojishan Formation);

The collection of fossils and reconstructions of dinosaur skeletons, composed mainly of specimens from the Northeast, Southeast and South regions of Brazil – such as Maxakalisaurus topai (titanosaur of thirteen meters long and nine tons in weight, dated from the Upper Cretaceous and collected from the Diamantina Formation in Minas Gerais, represented in the collection by the original fossils and the replica of its skeleton, the first reconstruction of a large dinosaur skeleton carried out in Brazil), the Irritator, or Angaturama limai (spinosaurusthe Lower Cretaceous with 7.5 meters in length and weight of one ton, from Chapada do Araripe, present in the collection with original fossils and replica of the skeleton), and the Santanaraptor (fossil record of theropod with 1.6 meters in length, dated from the Lower Cretaceous and collected at Chapada do Araripe, of exceptional importance for the preservation of soft tissues, such as muscles and blood vessels). Among items of foreign origin, a skull of Lambeosaurus (Upper Cretaceous, from the Judith River Formation, Canada) and a replica of the skull of the tyrannosaurus “Stan” (Tyrannosaurus rex, Upper Cretaceous, from the Hell Creek Formation, South Dakota, United States);

Fossils of therapsids, distinguishing the complete skeleton of a Dinodontosaurus, a 3.5 meter long dicinodon that lived between the Permian and Triassic periods, from the Santa Maria Formation, in Rio Grande do Sul.

The set of specimens of the extinct Pleistocene Brazilian mega-fauna, mainly mammals, such as the complete skeletons of giant sloths (Eremotherium laurillardi, from Jacobina, in Bahia, and Glossotherium robustum, collected in Rio Grande do Sul) and a tiger- saber tooth (Smilodon);
Fossils of birds, highlighting the complete skeleton of a Paraphysornis brasiliensis, a giant prehistoric bird that lived in Brazil during the Pliocene, with an average height of 2.40 meters.

Complementing the collection were the artistic reconstructions of prehistoric animals in life, including pterosaurs (Thalassodromeus sethi, Tupandactylus imperator) and dinosaurs (Irritator, Unaysaurus tolentinoi), a model of an embryo with the egg of a Tyrannosaurus rex, made based on discoveries in China of eggs attributed to large carnivorous dinosaurs and panels with reproductions of organisms that inhabited the sea in the Devonian Period, representing fossil outcrops and living beings, among other items of a didactic nature.

Biological anthropology
The National Museum’s collection of biological anthropology – constituted in the mid-19th century and continuously expanded since then – consisted of examples related to the history of man’s evolutionary process. It conserved important human skeletal remnants of prehistoric and historical populations from Brazil and from different parts of the world, being particularly relevant for studies on the settlement and dispersion of the first occupants of the Brazilian and South American territories. The collection also had significant collections of a historical character, composed of instruments, documents and iconographic materials dealing with the characteristics and trajectory of biological anthropology in Brazil.

The human skeletal remains of more than eighty prehistoric individuals, clustered in a sedimentary matrix, found in a cave in the region of Lagoa Santa, in Minas Gerais, stood out in the collection. The material was collected at the archaeological site of Lapa do Caetano in 1926, by researcher Padberg-Drenkpol, on a scientific expedition organized by the National Museum. By analyzing the age of some of the specimens found (over ten thousand years), it is estimated that the population to which these individuals belonged represents one of the oldest to populate the American continent.

Also under the guard of the National Museum were the remnants of Luzia’s skeleton, as the oldest human fossil ever found in the Americas is called, dating from about 11,500 to 13,000 years before the present. The remnants of Luzia (the skull and parts of the iliac bone and femur) were found in the 1970s, in a cave at the archaeological site of Lapa Vermelha, also in the Lagoa Santa region, by a Franco-Brazilian scientific mission, coordinated by Annette Laming-Emperaireand integrated by researchers from the National Museum. Luzia’s discovery was responsible for rekindling the theoretical debate about the origins of the American man, due to the peculiar characteristics of his cranial morphology, interpreted as evidence of immigration prior to the occupation of the American continent by populations with morphological characteristics close to those of Asian populations. current.

The collection of teaching materials sought to present human evolution through copies, reconstructions and panels. There were items related to the ” Turkana Boy ” (Homo ergaster) – one of the most important archaeological finds of the 20th century, consisting of the skeleton of a boy of approximately twelve years old, in excellent condition – and replicas of the skulls of several hominids: Australopithecus afarensis, Homo habilis, Homo erectus, archaic Homo sapiens and the Neanderthal man. Finally, the reconstitution of Luzia’s face, made in cooperation with the team of dr. Richard Neave, fromManchester University in 2000.

The National Museum’s archeology collection, composed of more than 100,000 objects, was notable for its cultural diversity, gathering pieces of great importance from different civilizations that inhabited the Americas, Europe and Africa, from the Paleolithic to the 19th century. The collection was subdivided into four main collections: Egyptian archeology, Mediterranean archeology, pre-Columbian archeology and Brazilian archeology- the latter, gathered systematically since 1867, consists not only of the best represented segment of the collection, but also of the most important existing collection in its typology, covering encyclopedic Brazil pre-Cabralino and covering some of the most outstanding material records produced during that period.

Ancient Egypt
Adding more than 700 items, the National Museum’s Egyptian archeology collection was the largest in Latin America and the oldest in the Americas. Most of the pieces entered the museum’s collection in 1826, when the merchant Nicolau Fiengo brought from Marseille a collection of Egyptian antiquities that belonged to the famous Italian explorer Giovanni Battista Belzoni, responsible for excavating The Necropolis of Thebes (now Luxor) and the Temple of Carnaque. This collection was originally destined for Argentina, possibly being an order from the then president of that country,Bernardino Rivadavia, creator of the University of Buenos Aires and a great museum enthusiast. A blockade in Rio da Prata, however, would have prevented Fiengo from completing the trip, forcing him to return from Montevideo to Rio de Janeiro, where the pieces were put up for auction. Dom Pedro I bought the complete collection for five contos de réis, and then donated it to the National Museum. It is speculated whether Dom Pedro’s gesture was influenced by José Bonifácio, a prominent member of Freemasonry, perhaps motivated by the interest that such a brotherhood has in Egyptian iconography.

The collection started by Pedro I would be expanded by his son, Dom Pedro II, an amateur Egyptologist and collector of pieces of archaeological and ethnographic interest. Among the most important additions to the Egyptian collection of the museum originated by Pedro II, was the polychrome wooden sarcophagus of the singer of Amon, Sha-Amun-en-su, from the Low Period, offered as a gift to the emperor during his second trip to the Egypt in 1876 by Khedive Ismail Pasha. The sarcophagus was never opened, but the mummy still remainsof the singer inside, a characteristic that gave it a notorious rarity. Subsequently, the collection would be enriched through purchases and donations, becoming, at the beginning of the 20th century, a collection of such archaeological relevance that it started to attract the attention of international researchers, such as Alberto Childe, who held the position of conservator of archeology at the National Museum between 1912 and 1938, also publishing the National Museum’s Guide to Classical Archeology Collections in 1919.

In the collection, in addition to the aforementioned Sha-Amun-en-su coffin, three other sarcophagi from the Third Intermediate Period and the Low Season, belonging to the priests of Ámon, Hori, Pestjef and Harsiese, stood out in the collection. The museum still had six human mummies, four for adults and two for children, as well as a small collection of animal mummies (cats, ibis, fish and crocodile cubs). Among the human specimens, there was a female mummy from the Roman Period, considered extremely rare by the preparation technique, of which only eight similar ones are known in the world. Called “princess of the Sun” or ” princess Kherima”, the mummy had the members and fingers and toes and hands bandaged individually and is richly adorned, with painted bands. It was one of the most popular items in the museum, being even related to reports of parapsychological experiences and collective trances, supposedly occurred in the 1960s. Kherima also inspired the novel The Secret of the Mummy by Everton Ralph, a member of the Rosa Cruz Society.

The collection of votive and funerary stelae added up to dozens of specimens that date, mostly, from the Intermediate Period and the Low Season. Noteworthy were the stelae of Raia and Haunefer, which present titles of Semitic origin present in the Bible and in the cuneiform tablets of Mari, in addition to an unfinished stele, attributed to the Emperor Tiberius, of the Roman Period. There was also a vast collection of shabtis, statuettes representing funerary servants, particularly those belonging to Pharaoh Seti I, excavated in his tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Also in the context of rare pieces, a statuette of a young woman in painted limestone, dating from the New Empire, with a cone of ointments on her head – an iconography that is almost exclusively found in paintings and reliefs deserves mention. Complementing the collection were fragments of reliefs, masks, figurines of deities in bronze, stone and wood (including depictions of Ptah-Sokar-Osiris), canopic vases, alabaster bowls, funerary cones, jewelery, amulets and functional pieces of diverse natures.

Mediterranean cultures
The National Museum’s classic archeology collection consisted of approximately 750 pieces, mostly covering the Greek, Roman, Etruscan and Italian civilizations, the largest of its kind in Latin America. Much of this collection corresponded to the Greco-Roman collection of Empress Teresa Cristina, interested in archeology since her youth. When she landed in Brazil in 1843, shortly after her marriage by proxy with Dom Pedro II, the empress brought with her a collection of works recovered from excavations in the ancient cities of Herculano and Pompeii, destroyed in 79 by an eruption of the volcanoVesuvius. Some of these pieces came from the collection of Queen Carolina Murat, sister of Napoleon Bonaparte and wife of the king of Naples, Joaquim Murat.

In turn, the empress’ brother, King Fernando II of the Two Sicilies, ordered the excavations that had begun in the 18th century to be resumed in Herculaneum and Pompeii. The recovered pieces were sent to the Bourbon Museum, in Naples. Aiming to increase the presence of classical artifacts in Brazil and considering the creation of a future Greco-Roman archeology museum in this country, the empress established formal exchanges with the Kingdom of Naples. He asked Fernando II to send Greco-Roman pieces to Rio de Janeiro, while he sent artifacts of indigenous origin to Italy. The empress herself also financed excavations at Veios, an Etruscan archaeological site located fifteen kilometers north of Rome, bringing a large part of the objects found to Brazil. Most of this collection was formed between 1853 and 1859, but it continued to be enriched by the empress until the fall of the empire in 1889, when Teresa Cristina left the country.

Among the highlights of the collection was a set of four frescoes from Pompeii, executed around the 1st century. Two of these pieces were decorated with marine motifs, representing respectively a dragon and a seahorse as central motifs, and adorned the lower walls of the devotees’ room at the Temple of Isis. The other two frescoes had representations of plants, birds and landscapes, approaching stylistically the paintings of Herculano and Estabia. Also from Pompeii came a wide set of pieces depicting the daily lives of the residents: fibula, jewelry, mirrors and other pieces of the Roman dressing table, glass and bronze containers, phallic amulets and lamps modeled in terracotta.

The vast collection of ceramics covered dozens of objects and is marked by the diversity of origins, shapes, decorations and utilitarian purposes. The main styles and schools of classical antiquity are represented, from Corinthian geometric ceramics from the 7th century BC to Roman terracotta amphoras from the beginning of the Christian Era. Copies of craters, enócoas, pitchers, goblets, cíatos, bowls, hídrias, lécitos, asci and lekanides. The sets ofBucaros Etruscans (VII century BC), the Greek black – figure vases (VII centuries BC), the vessels of Egnatia (fourth century BC) and, above all, the wide range of ceramic italiotes red figures (V century III BC), from Apulia, Campania, Lucania and Magna Grecia.

The collection of sculptures featured a set of Tanagras, terracotta figurines of Greek origin popularized from the 4th century BC, as well as a series of Etruscan bronze miniatures representing warriors and female figures. The collection of military artifacts includes fragments of helmets, mace points, bronze sheaths and blades, brooches and faleras.

Pre-Columbian America
The National Museum conserved an important set of approximately 1,800 artifacts produced by Amerindian civilizations during the pre-Columbian era, in addition to Andean mummies. Formed over the 19th century, this collection had its origins in the collections of the Brazilian imperial family, especially in the Pedro II collection, having subsequently been expanded through purchases, donations, exchanges and field activities. At the end of the 19th century, the collection already enjoyed considerable prestige, to the point of being cited, on the occasion of the inauguration of the 1889 Anthropological Exhibition, as one of the largest South American anthropological collections.

The collection mainly comprised objects representative of the textile, ceramist, metallurgical, feather and lithic productions of the Andean peoples (cultures of Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina) and, to a lesser extent, of Amazonian cultures (including a rare collection of Venezuelan artifacts) and Mesoamerican (cultures from Mexico and Nicaragua). It covered various aspects of daily life, social organization, religiosity and imagery of pre-Columbian civilizations, exemplified from their most basic utilitarian aspects (clothing, body adornments, weapons) to the most refined material production and imbued with artistic sense (musical and calculation instruments, pieces for ritual use, figurative ceramics, etc.). The dynamics of the exchange and ideological dissemination networks between the different peoples of the region is another relevant feature of the collection and can be seen not only in the similarities of decorative patterns and aesthetic sense of the works, but also in the themes addressed, common to the production of almost all groups, such as the representation of plants, nocturnal animals (bats, snakes, owls) and beings associated with phenomena and elements of nature.

The following stood out for their representativeness in the collection, in the context of Andean cultures:

The Nazca Civilization, which flourished in southern Peru from the 3rd century on, from which the museum conserves a wide range of fragments of fabrics with representations of animals (mainly llamas), fantastic beings, human figures, plants and geometric patterns;

The Moche Civilization, which inhabited the North Coast of Peru between the beginning of the Christian Era and the 8th century, builders of large ceremonial complexes, gigantic pyramids and temples, of which figurative ceramics of high technical and artistic quality are preserved, zoomorphic, anthropomorphic and globular vases, as well as jewelery works;

The Huari Culture, which inhabited the Peruvian Central Coast from the 5th century onwards, represented by anthropomorphic ceramic vases and fragments of fabrics;

The Lambayeque Culture, which emerged in the eponymous region of Peru in the 8th century, of which the museum preserves textile, ceramic and metallurgical specimens;

The Chimu Culture, which flourished from the 10th century in the valley of the river Moche, represented by a group of zoomorphic and anthropomorphic ceramics, characteristically dark, obtained by reducing fires and inspired by stylistic elements of the Moche and Huari peoples, as well as by fabrics with various reasons;

The Chancay Culture, which developed during the Intermediate and Late Periods in the valleys of the Chancay and Chillon rivers, represented by a set of anthropomorphic ceramics (of a characteristically dark color, with a light-colored engobe and paintings in brown) and sophisticated weaving examples with animal and plant motifs – namely, a large mantle three meters long;

The Inca Civilization, emerged in the 13th century and consolidated as the largest empire in pre-Columbian America in the following century, represented in the collection by means of figurative ceramic pieces and vases with geometric decorations (set of “Inca aribals”), miniature figures of human beings and llamas, made with metallic alloys based on gold, silver and copper, miniatures of Incan costumes for ritual use, feather ornaments, quipos, cloaks, tunics and various fabrics.

The collection of Andean mummies of the National Museum allowed to glimpse important aspects of the funerary customs of the peoples of the region and was made up of specimens preserved both naturally, due to favorable geoclimatic conditions, and artificially, through religious and ritualistic practices. From a grave in Chiu-Chiu, in the Atacama Desert, in northern Chile, there was a mummy of a man estimated to be between 4,700 and 3,400 years old, preserved in a sitting position, with his head resting on his knees and covered by a cap. from there. It was in this way that the attackers used to sleep due to the cold of the desert and also the position in which they used to be buried together with their belongings. A second specimen in the collection, an Aymara mummyof a male individual, found on the outskirts of Lake Titicaca, between Peru and Bolivia, was preserved in that same position, surrounded by a thick funerary burden. Finally, the museum conserved a mummy of a boy donated by the Chilean government and, illustrating the techniques of artificial mummification of the pre-Columbian peoples, a specimen of “shrunken head” produced by the Jivaro peopleof the equatorial Amazon, as part of their religious rituals.

Brazilian archeology
The collection of Brazilian archeology brought together a vast set of artifacts produced by the people who inhabited the Brazilian territory in the pre-colonial period, with more than 90,000 items, being considered the most comprehensive collection existing in its typology. Constituted since the beginning of the 19th century, the collection started to be systematically brought together from 1867 and was continuously enriched until today, through field collections, acquisitions and donations. It consists of artifacts from all regions of Brazil, produced over a time span of more than ten thousand years.

Of the oldest inhabitants of the Brazilian territory (hunter-gatherer and horticultural groups), the museum conserved several artifacts produced in stone (flint, quartz and other minerals) and bone, such as projectile tipsused in hunting, polished stone ax blades and other tools made to engrave, scrape, carve, grind and drill, as well as ceremonial artifacts and ornaments. Objects in wood, fibers and resins, although probably also produced by such groups, did not resist the action of time and were practically absent in the collection, except for isolated pieces – namely a basket of straw covered by resin, only partially preserved, found on the south coast of Brazil.

In the nucleus related to the sambaquieiros peoples, as the fishing and collecting populations that lived on the central-southern Brazilian coast between eight thousand years ago and the beginning of the Christian Era are called, there was a large set of traces from deposits made up of clusters of materials organic and limestone – called sambaquis. Part of these pieces came from the Balbino de Freitas Archaeological Collection, listed by IPHAN in the 1940s. The museum kept two copies of sambaquis cutouts and a group of skeletal remnants from these archaeological sites, as well as a varied collection of testimonies of the sambaquieira culture, covering artifacts of daily use (containers, bowls, mortars and pestles carved in stone) and ritualistic (figurines). In this context, the so-called zoolites, stone sculptures for ceremonial use, with representations of animals (fish and birds) and human figures, were notable for their elaborate technique.

The collection also included funerary urns, rattles, plates, bowls, clothing, vases, idols and amulets, produced mainly in ceramics by several other cultures of pre-colonial Brazil, standing out, due to the representativeness in the collection:

The Marajoara Culture, which reached its peak on the island of Marajó in the 5th century and went into decline in the 15th century, considered the culture that reached the highest level of social complexity in pre-colonial Brazil. The museum had a wide range of Marajoara ceramics, notable for their keen artistic and aesthetic sense as well as for the variety of shapes and the refinement of the decoration – in general, works of a figurative nature (representations of humans and animals), combined with rich geometric patterns (compositions imbued with symmetry, rhythmic repetitions, elements binary oppositions, etc.) and with the predominance of the use of the excision technique. Most of the pieces were for ceremonial use, used in funerary contexts, rituals of passage, etc. Anthropomorphic statuettes (notably female phallus-shaped statuettes, uniting the male and female principles, recurring in Mararajo art) stood out, large funerary urns, anthropomorphic geometric decorated vases, ritual use thongs, zoomorphic vessels, anthropomorphs and hybrids, etc.

The Santarém Culture (or Tapajônica Culture), which developed between the 10th and 15th centuries, in the region on the Tapajós River, in Pará, notable for its ceramics with a peculiar style and high artistic quality, using modeling, incision, stippling and application techniques, as well as aesthetic characteristics that suggest the influence of the Mesoamerican peoples. The naturalist-style anthropomorphic statuettes stood out in the collection, characterized by closed eyes in the shape of coffee beans, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic containers, ceremonial vessels and, above all, the so-called “caryatid vessels” – complex ceramic vessels endowed with of bottlenecks, reliefs and pedestals, with decorations of anthropomorphic, zoomorphic figures and fantastic beings. The museum also conserves several specimens of muiraquitãs, small green stone figurines in the form of animals (mainly frogs) used as ornaments or amulets.

The Konduri Culture, which peaked in the 12th century and declined in the 15th century, in the region between the Trombetas and Nhamundá rivers, in Pará. Although it maintained intense contact with the Santarém culture, the artistic production of the Konduri people developed their own characteristics, mainly represented in the collection by ceramic manufacturing, where the incised and dotted decoration, the vivid polychrome, and the reliefs with anthropomorphic and zoomorphic motifs stand out.

The Culture of the Trombetas River, in the Lower Amazon, in Pará, a cultural border with the Santarém region. This culture, still largely unknown, was responsible for producing rare artifacts carved in polished stone and objects with stylistic elements common to Mesoamerican cultures. At the core of the museum, there are examples of lithic artifacts for ceremonial use and anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figurines (zoolites representing fish and jaguars).

The Miracanguera Culture, which inhabited the left bank of the Amazon River, in the region between Itacoatiara and Manaus, between the 9th and 15th centuries. The museum preserves ceremonial pieces of Miracanguera ceramics, mainly anthropomorphic funerary urns with a bowl, neck and lid, used to store the ashes of the deceased, and other vessels related to funeral rituals. Miracanguera ceramics were distinguished by receiving a bath of tabatinga (a kind of clay mixed with organic materials) and were eventually painted with geometric motifs. The plastic composition often highlighted specific details, such as human figures in a sitting position and with their legs represented.

The Maracá Culture, which lived in the Amapá region between the 15th and 18th centuries, represented in the collection by its typical funerary urns reproducing male and female human figures in a hieratic position, with lids in the shape of heads, as well as zoomorphic funerary urns representing quadruped animals from indigenous cemeteries on the outskirts of the Maracá River. Maracá ceramics were often adorned with geometric and polychrome patterns in white, yellow, red and black. Adornments on the limbs and on the head of the figure also expressed the social identity of the deceased.

The Tupi-Guarani Culture, which inhabited the coast of Brazilian territory when the Portuguese arrived in the 16th century – subdivided into the Tupinambás (in the North, Northeast and Southeast) and Guarani groups (in the South of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay). The collection mainly comprises ceramic manufactures and isolated examples of lithic artifacts, of daily use (pots, bowls, jars, plates) or ritual (funerary urns). Tupi-Guarani ceramics are characterized by polychromy (with a predominance of red, black and white colors) and drawings in geometric and sinuous patterns.

The National Museum also keeps the only records of indigenous mummies found in Brazilian territory. The material consists of the bodies of an adult woman, approximately 25 years of age, and two children, one at foot height, estimated to be 12 months old, wrapped in a bale, and the other newborn, also wrapped in a bale. and positioned behind the woman’s head. The mummified set is composed of individuals who probably belonged to the Botocudos group (Macro-jê trunk). It was found in the Babilônia Cave, in the city of Rio Novo, in the interior of Minas Gerais, on the lands of Maria José de Santana ‘s farm, who donated them to Emperor Dom Pedro II. In thanks, Dom Pedro awarded Maria José the title of Baroness of Santana.

The National Museum’s collection of ethnology housed around 40,000 items referring to the material culture of different peoples of the world. The nucleus of Brazilian indigenous ethnology is the most representative, encompassing objects produced by native peoples from all regions of the country, from the beginning of the colonial period to the present day. The collection also includes significant sets of artifacts referring to African ethnology, Afro-Brazilian ethnology and Pacific Ocean cultures. Finally, the linguistics group maintains a vast set of documentary and sound records related to Brazilian indigenous languages. The collection of the ethnology sector serves as a subsidy for several scientific investigations, highlighting, in this context, the interdisciplinary studies carried out by the Research Laboratory on Ethnicity, Culture and Development (Laced).

Brazilian indigenous ethnology
The collection of Brazilian indigenous ethnology at the National Museum is among the largest in its type, covering more than 30,000 objects, produced by more than one hundred indigenous groups, from all regions of Brazil. This broad set – formed since the beginning of the 19th century, through field collections, acquisitions, legacies and donations – reflects the diversity and cultural richness of Brazilian native cultures, documenting varied aspects of their traditions, habits, daily life, social organization, beliefs and rituals. The wide time frame of this set, composed of pieces produced since the middle of the colonial period, it also allows the analysis of the development of indigenous material production, as well as the influences and impacts suffered, from the contact with the colonizers to the present day. The sets referring to basketry, ceramics, musical instruments, feather art, weapons and traps of the indigenous peoples stand out.

The museum’s basketry core is made up of approximately 900 artifacts produced through braiding with rigid fibers. Although it is not a specific technique of the indigenous people, fiber braiding is present in the material production of almost all Brazilian groups, being used since the creation of a mask base to the making of houses, including ornaments and musical instruments, with purposes that vary from ritual use to commercialization. The collection includes examples of baskets, baskets, baskets, bags, ornaments, cases, fans, sieves, weapons, nets and mats, representing over 70 indigenous groups, mainly from the North, Midwest and Northeast regions, such as Tenetearas, Tapirapés, Macus, Timbiras, Tarianas, Mamaindês and Tembés, among others. Among the rare pieces, the Tucanos ‘ braided shield, from the Uaupés river valley (one of the items highlighted by Gonçalves Dias during the Amazonas exhibition, in 1861) stands out; the Baquité dos Nambiquaras basket, from Mato Grosso, collected by the Rondon Commission in 1921; the Uarabarru dos Carajás offal kit, collected by Lincolm de Souza, editor of A Noite, and donated to the museum in 1948 by Colonel Leony de Oliveira Machado, etc.

The collection of indigenous ceramics is characterized by the diversity of origins, shapes, styles, ornaments and functions, making it possible to follow the trajectory of the traditional ceramic industry up to the current production and exemplifying topics such as the daily lives of different groups and the influence of the themes of the culture of mass in contemporary indigenous production, among others. The collection covers a wide number of household containers, such as pots, stands, pots, bowls, plates, vases, bowls, water jars and biju roasters, with specific types for ceremonial purposes, in addition to musical instruments, pipes, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic statuettes and toys. Represented in the collection, among others, are ceramic artifacts from groups such asAparaí, Uaurás, Assurini, Bororós, Iaualapitis and the people of Aldeia Uapuí and the Uaupés river valley. In the context of figurative ceramic production, the so-called Litxokô figurines, produced by the Carajás Indians, stand out in a modern style and refined decoration; the anthropomorphic pots and vases decorated with stylized figures and geometric patterns from the Cadiueus; the containers decorated with figures of animals in high relief of the Ticunas, etc.

The National Museum’s collection of indigenous musical instruments encompasses objects used mostly in religious practices, although “profane” musical production (related to mere entertainment) is also documented. Wind instruments (flutes, horns, trumpets and whistles) and percussion instruments (drums, rattles and rhythm sticks) predominate, with string instruments (musical bow) being rare. They are made from different materials, such as gourds, cuités, clay, wood, leather, animal bones and hooves, seeds, elites and taquaras. The musical instruments and music recordings of the Parecis and Nambiquaras Indians stand out, collected and produced by Edgar Roquette-Pinto in Serra do Norte, in 1912. Roquette-Pinto used a portable string-powered phonograph that allowed recording on wax cylinders. This material would later influence compositions by Brazilian musicians such as Heitor Villa-Lobos and Oscar Lorenzo Fernández.

The set referring to indigenous feather art houses a large number of pieces and is characterized by the multiplicity of origins – reflecting the very scope of this artistic expression in Brazilian territory, common to almost all known groups. The objects (made with bird feathers, shells, fibers and other materials) have varied purposes, from simple body ornaments to elements of social status distinction, as well as specific pieces for use in rituals, celebrations and parties. The collection includes headdresses, diadems, crowns, hoops, hoods, helmets, mantellas, foreheads, earrings, pendants, belts, scepters and masks. Among the groups most abundantly represented in terms of feather production, the Carajás, Tucanos,Mundurucus, Parintintins and Ricbactas.

The collection of weapons and war and hunting traps comprises both objects used by indigenous groups in hunting and disputes over land and resources (with other indigenous groups or along resistance to colonizers) and examples made for ceremonial use, as cultural symbols and elements of identity reaffirmation. Spears, bows and arrows are the most popular specimens among Brazilian indigenous groups, being abundantly represented in the collection, alongside clubs, wooden swords, blowguns, arrow throwers and darts, etc. The collection is characterized by the diversity of styles and decorative patterns, reflecting the very breadth of the cultural contexts of the producing peoples. Among the groups represented, there are theUapixanas, Iaualapitis and Carajás, among others.

The museum also has smaller nuclei, but highly representative of other aspects of the material culture of indigenous peoples, including the textile collection (equipment used for spinning and weaving and textile examples such as handbags, bags, hammocks, shirts, cloaks and ritual robes), masks diverse, generally associated with religious use (highlighting the large collection of masks by the Ticuna Indians and other groups such as the Javaés, Auetis, Meinacos and Uaurás), examples of home furnishings (such as monoxide benches carved in wood), canoes, ornaments bodily effects made with the use of different materials, among others.

Finally, the museum houses a collection of Brazilian indigenous languages, composed of a documentary nucleus (covering a wide group of languages belonging to different families and linguistic trunks) and a sound nucleus (with records of narrative speeches, myths, songs, sonorization of vocabulary, etc.), both in constant analysis and expansion, serving as bases for research and studies on indigenous societies, languages and cultures.

African and Afro-Brazilian ethnology
The collection of African and Afro-Brazilian ethnologyof the National Museum was made up of approximately 700 objects. It encompassed both specimens produced by people from different regions of the African continent and testimonies of the cultural manifestations of the descendants of African peoples in Brazil. The nucleus of African objects was mostly constituted between 1810 and 1940, referring in its origin to the collections of the Portuguese and Brazilian royal families, later enriched by other legacies, purchases and transfers. The Afro-Brazilian collection, in turn, was formed between 1880 and 1950, from a core of objects transferred from the deposits of local police forces (responsible for confiscating them, when the practice of candomblé was prohibited in Rio de Janeiro), to which was added the important collection of Heloísa Alberto Torres, consisting of items purchased from the most important Candomblé terreiros in the Recôncavo Baiano throughout the 1940s.

The core of African ethnology encompasses, for the most part, pieces produced in the 19th century by African peoples on the west coast, encompassing both ethnic groups that had no contact with Brazil and others historically related to the African diaspora in that country. It includes artifacts for everyday use (props and braids), ritual objects (masks and statuettes), musical instruments (flutes, rattles, drums, lamellophones), hunting and war weapons, etc., in addition to pieces that stand out for their historical value or for the context in which they were acquired – such as the set of gifts offered to Prince-Regent Dom João VI by King Adandozan, from the former Kingdom of Dahomey (now Benin), between 1810 and 1811, which formed part of the inaugural collection of the National Museum. The centerpiece of the ensemble is Daomé’s throne, probably dated from the 18th to the 19th century, a replica of the royal seat of Kpengla, Adandozan’s grandfather. Completing the set of gifts is a war flag of Dahomey (showing the victories of King Adandozan in the wars against his enemies), the pair of royal sandals, choir bags, a walking stick, royal shakes and a tobacco plate.

Also in the context of artifacts of African origin, the museum preserves ritual masks from secret societies of the Yoruba and Ecoles, examples of basketry from Angola and Madagascar, ceremonial sticks from the Côkwe, musical objects acquired from the King of Uganda, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic religious statuettes, specimens of alaka(African fabrics made on a loom and imported from the west coast to Brazil). Finally, the collection donated to the National Museum by Celenia Pires Ferreira, missionary of the Congregational Church of the city of Campina Grande, in 1936, stands out. The collection consists of objects of domestic and ritual use, collected by the missionary during her stay in the Central Plateau of Angola between 1929 and 1935.

The Afro-Brazilian ethnology group documents habits, beliefs and production techniques of the descendants of African peoples in Brazil, as well as the history of slavery violence, religious repression and the forms of social organization of black communities in the post-abolition period. The african-Brazilian religiosity is the aspect most amply illustrated in the collection. Most of the religious objects were originally found in spaces known as Zungus or Candomblé terreiros, places of worship for the inquices (Bantus), orixás (Yoruba) and voduns (Jeje Mahi). Such temples were constantly invaded and their objects were confiscated and taken to police deposits, as material evidence of the practice of rituals then forbidden. At the initiative of the former director of the museum, Ladislau Neto, these objects started to be transferred to the institution, after recognizing the historical, sociological and ethnological importance of such a collection.

A second important set of objects in the Afro-Brazilian ethnology collection comes from the donation made by Heloísa Alberto Torres, an anthropologist and former director of the National Museum. During her trips to Bahia in the 1940s, Heloísa acquired a series of objects in the main candomblé houses in the Recôncavo region, in addition to examples of handicrafts, textile production and popular culture, namely the orixás sculpted in wood by Afonso de Santa Isabeland cedar sculptures with oil paintings acquired at Ateliê da Rua Taboão. The collection also includes pieces made to order by the National Museum itself, to appear in the Brazilian Regional Ethnography Room, part of the Permanent Exhibition of the National Museum in 1949 (first permanent exhibition of Afro-Brazilian objects and cults, with the aim of presenting the regional differences in national culture), such as rag dolls dressed in orixás costumes.

Pacific cultures
The collection of objects from the peoples of the Pacific Ocean is one of the oldest foreign collections in the National Museum. Its origin dates back to the Dom Pedro I collection, bequeathed to the museum and later expanded through donations and purchases. The collection brings together everyday objects, religious artifacts and hunting and war weapons from Polynesia, New Zealand and New Guinea (in Oceania) and the Aleutian Islands and the Pacific Coast (in North America). Among the artifacts in the museum’s initial collection, there are the royal Owhyeen cloak and necklace, made with feathers, gifts offered by the kingKamehameha II and Queen Tamehamalu, from the Kingdom of Hawaii (or Sandwich Islands) to Dom Pedro I, in 1824, when the emperor welcomed the Hawaiian royal family and his entourage on their arrival in Rio de Janeiro.

The following nuclei also stand out:

Polynesian artifacts: formed by objects, mostly from the Cook Islands. It comprises sets of stone axes with carved wooden handles, paddles, miniature canoes, kayaks and boats used by islanders made of leather and wooden figurines for ritual use.

New Zealand artifacts: composed of hunting and war tools and weapons, including examples of axes decorated with anthropomorphic motifs, clubs, in addition to carved bone spoons, decorated wooden toothpicks, bamboo vases decorated with graphics, etc.

New Guinea artifacts: examples of stone axes, cigarette cases, earrings and ornaments, objects carved from wood, spears, boomerangs and other throwing weapons.

Pacific Coast artefacts: composed of ceremonial objects, of daily use and musical instruments, such as zoomorphic rattles, trays, polychrome shell-shaped vases, etc. Noteworthy is the totemic bat with three human figures, each representing an ancestor, and a wood and leather armor, collected in the region of Vancouver, in Canada.

Artifacts from the Aleutian Islands: two rare examples of Eskimo coats stand out, one made with seal intestine and the other with feather skin, in addition to a bag, also of seal intestine.

During the signing of a protocol of intent for technical-scientific cooperation with the Brazilian Institute of Museums (Ibram), held on 14 May 2019, it was reported that the works of restoration of the patrimony would be initiated in 2019, with an elaborated executive project of the reconstruction of the facades and of the roof, with an endowment of R$1 million. Paulo Amaral, president of Ibram, said that the new concept of the National Museum would probably be announced in April 2020, when the final formatting of the space would be defined, with parts dedicated to the historical collection, contemporary works and equipment.

On the first floor of the building was the Francisca Keller Library, which had the largest collection of anthropology and human sciences in South America. To speed up the fundraising process, they are making a crowdfunding campaign on the Benfeitoria platform. The money would be used for the demolition of the interior walls of the space, restoring the floor, finishing and painting, laying the ceiling, making the electrical and air conditioning installation and the restoration of hardware. They expect to get R$129,000 by 12 September 2019.

The Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, responsible for the museum, signed on Saturday 31 August 2019 a memorandum of understanding with the Vale Foundation, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the BNDES to create a governance steering committee that can lead the museum’s recovery project. Vale provides R$50 million and BNDES R$21.7 million for this reconstruction. The Ministry of Education had allocated R$16 million to the National Museum. Of this total, R$8.9 million was used in emergency works, and the rest for facade and roof projects. The Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovations and Communications contributed R$10 million to acquire equipment for scientific research and infrastructure actions. Germany had donated 230,000 euros so far. After 1 year since the destruction, 44% of the museum’s collections had been saved. More than 50 of the 70 areas hit by the fire were searched.

Reconstruction of the facade and roof is expected to take place between the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020. In the first half of 2020, the salvage of parts of the collection and the start of the inventory process are expected to be completed. R$69 million in public funds for the project. The amount is composed of R$21 million from BNDES (R$3.3 million of which have already been released), R$43 million from the amendment of the Rio de Janeiro bench in the Chamber of Deputies and R$5 million from the Ministry Education.

On 3 October 2019, the museum has about 120 million reais available to make works, coming from funds from parliamentary amendments, the BNDES and Vale. But, the money cannot be used to buy the material needed to continue the rescue, only in the works. In the box of the Association Friends of the National Museum, there are 80 thousand reais in cash, coming from donations, but only R$25 thousand are not yet committed. The Rio de Janeiro Legislative Assembly (Alerj) donated R$20 million to help in the works. Funding are available as project steps are completed.

The German Foreign Ministry has offered €1 million in aid to rebuild Brazil’s National Museum. This amount was used to buy container-laboratories to investigate specimens. Those equipment were to be located in a donated field nearby Maracanã Stadium. From the initial amount announced, R$180 thousand was delivered. On 21 May 2019 the Director travelled to Germany and France to ask for the rest and more help, because Brazil Government seems not possible to financially further help. From Germany, the second amount of €145 thousand or R$654 thousand was donated.

Each of 140 geoparks of UNESCO’s conservation areas will collect and send a lithic, fossil, or cultural artifact to Brazil. This means 140 objects would complement the future collection.

On 17 October 2018, Secretary of the Patrimony of the Union, Sidrack Correia confirmed the donation of the area of 49,300 m², that is about a kilometer from the museum, to install laboratories containers in 45 days, budgeted at R$2.2 million, purchased with funds from the TJRJ Pecunary Penalty Fund to be used by museum researchers. It also serves as a center for students visitation. Part of the total, 10 thousand square meters will be for the Justice Court to install its transport area.

The National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI), linked to the Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services (MDIC), concluded on 17 October 2018 the donation of 1,164 items, mostly mobile, to the National Museum. The furniture, which includes tables, chairs, workstations, drawers and cabinets, aid in the restructuring of the Museum. The idea of the donation came from the need for the institute to free itself of idle equipment that was in its old headquarters, in Edifício A Noite, located in Praça Mauá, the port area of Rio de Janeiro, to allow the return of the property to the Secretariat of the Patrimony of the Union (SPU), which should have been empty. Part of the furniture was taken to the Botanical Garden of the National Museum, located in Quinta da Boa Vista, where some sectors are working. Others will be used in the direction of the museum, in the services of museology and teaching assistance, and in the departments of invertebrates, geology, paleontology, entomology and ethnology.

On 24 October 2018, a farmer from Cuiabá donates 780 old Brazilian coins at an average value of R$5 thousand to Rio de Janeiro National Museum. More than R$100 thousand was donated in campaign to museum.

On 13 November 2018, the Universidade Estadual do Pará donated 514 insects to the Museum, 314 were borrowed from there. Among them were grasshoppers.

On 25 May 2019, Nuuvem, largest gaming platform in Latin America, donated R$16,860 to the National Museum. The two-day income from the game “The Hero’s Legend” was reverted to the museum and 500 gamers engaged in the action. The inspiration came from an initiative that Ubisoft created for the game “Assassin’s Creed” for the reconstruction of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris.

Until June 2019, the small donations from several private individuals summed R$323 thousand.
The British Council donated R$150 thousand for educational exchange.

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew would donate in 2020 a collection of relics collected in the Amazon, stored in the British institution for over 150 years. The items were grouped by botanist Richard Spruce, who spent 15 years gathering specimens and making notes while travelling through the forest and brought to Queen Victoria ceremonial tools and objects used by indigenous tribes in the region. His collection, later stored in the Kew Gardens archives, also includes wooden baskets and graters, trumpets, rattles, and ritual headdresses.

Wilson Saviano, professor at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, donated 300 pieces, 15 paintings and 40 books from his private collection of contemporary African art.

Books: In entomology, it had 20 donations that would give about 23,000 items, it was certainly one of the areas that suffered the most. In vertebrates, more than 500 specimens from various areas of Brazil were donated. In geology and paleontology, it had assets seized by the IRS that were destined for the National Museum. Kellner points out that the Francisca Keller Library of the Graduate Program in Social Anthropology, which had 37,000 documents and books and was fully incinerated, is already being rebuilt. About 10,500 volumes had been donated, and another 8,000 were on the way. From France is approximately 700 kilos. At the Central Library the donation of several other books, over 170 kilos.