The exhibition “Shells, corals, butterflies”, with a space of 350 square meters, about 2 thousand invertebrates. The revitalization project of the exhibition aimed to preserve and disseminate the collections and processes linked to recent research in the areas of Entomology (science that studies insects) and Invertebrates, highlighting the most relevant examples of Brazilian and foreign fauna that are part of the collection of the National Museum of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.
The exhibition “Shells, Corals, Butterflies” is a permanent exhibition of the departments of Invertebrates and Entomology. The first significant change was to bring the exhibition to these two large galleries, doubling the space. The second thing was the complete overhaul of museography. All the displays and everything were made especially for this exhibition, and in it we have teachers to separate the collection and sanitize. It is practically everything original, an extremely delicate material to care for, separate and restore.
Most of the items in the exhibition are really animals that lived in nature and are conserved through specialized scientific treatment. Among the exposed elements that are not real, the replica of a giant squid, the largest invertebrate in the world, stands at 8.62 meters and fascinates the visitors of the exhibition. Another highlight that enchants visitors, especially children, is the “butterfly garden”, a huge display window that houses 1,400 replicas of butterflies that form a yellow cloud. In this case, the need to use imitations arose from the fragility of the bodies, which prevented them from being hung in the museum.
Among the novelties are the life-size replica of a giant squid, the enlarged reproduction of two microscopic insects, and the artistic installation that features the panapana – synchronized flight of a flock of butterflies. Another highlight is the 27 insect boxes, where beetles and butterflies are the great visual attraction. The total cost of revitalizing these exhibitions was R $ 500 thousand, obtained through Caixa Econômica Federal, CNPq and the Associação Amigos do Museu Nacional (SAMN).
Currently the National Museum is part of the academic structure of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and holds the largest collection of Natural History and Anthropology in South America. The pieces that make up the exhibitions open to the public are part of the 20 million items in the preserved scientific collections and studied by the Departments of Anthropology, Botany, Entomology, Geology and Paleontology, Invertebrates and Vertebrates.
The exhibition Shells, Corals, Butterflies is part of the National Museum’s Strategic Revitalization Program, which takes into account the importance of the institution in the Brazilian cultural scene, demonstrated by the significant visitation of 300 thousand people / year, and for being a reference in the areas of Natural Sciences and Anthropological interests of interest to Brazilian and foreign researchers.
Space recovery and collection recovery
The exhibition revitalization project aimed to preserve and disseminate the collections and processes linked to recent research in the areas of Entomology and Invertebrates, highlighting the most relevant examples of Brazilian and foreign fauna that make up the collection. of the National Museum of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. Emphasis was placed on aspects of the respective natural habitats, the history of research carried out on the subject and its connection with the environment in contemporary societies.
The exhibition Shells, Corals, Butterflies it is structured in seven sequential modules that are presented according to the biology, anatomy, geographic distribution, habitat, scientific and economic importance, and variability (morphological and chromatic diversity) of the species. Consideration was given to the presentation of more well-known specimens, but also the rarest, the most curious and or the most beautiful.
Academic curatorship (selection of collections, concepts, explanatory texts, diagrams, maps and legends) fell to professors from the National Museum’s Entomology and Invertebrate Departments. To this end, a new space was recovered, consisting of two large 350m² galleries in total: painting the walls, recovering the frames and floors, installing thermal curtains. This continuous exhibition space and the wide perspective of the two galleries allowed the use of more daring museographic media, providing greater visibility to the exhibition.
The collection was cleaned, maintained and assembled by the Museology Sector (SEMU), which also developed the museographic project together with a contracted design office. The latter was in charge of the graphic project that completes the exhibition.
The exhibition project consists of: lighting project for rooms and showcases, making 27 new exhibitors, 9 horizontal, 15 vertical showcases and 3 more large exhibitors (8 mx 4.50mts), 27 entomological boxes, 4 totems for biomes, 6 TV totems with videos related to the modules (Porífera, Cnidários, Malacologia, Echinoderms, Crustaceans, Arachnology and Entomology), 1 artificial butterfly (6.5 m in height), 1 large showcase for giant crab (original restored piece), 2 tables with schematic diagrams of the evolutionary history of species (cladograms), replicas of insects (in large dimensions), replica of a giant squid, in addition to panels with informative texts.
The departments of invertebrates and entomology
The Department of Entomology of the National Museum originated in 1842 as one of the sectors of the former Zoology Section and acquired the status of General and Agricultural Entomology Laboratory from 1916. In 1971 it became recognized as a departments of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). Its collection today has about five million copies, being one of the main reference centers for the study of South American entomological fauna. One of the most important researchers who passed through the Department, Prof. José Cândido de Melo Carvalho, when director of the Museum, inaugurated the first permanent exhibition of insects in 1960.
The origin of the Department of Invertebrates is linked to the work of pioneering naturalists in Brazil who, in the middle of the 19th century, were already in the offices of the National Museum, integrating the Zoology Section. In 1971 it started to be recognized as one of the departments of UFRJ, acting in research, teaching and extension, and contributing to the formation of several generations of students. Its scientific collections of several groups of invertebrates, especially sea sponges, cnidarians, echinoderms, molluscs, crustaceans and arachnids, are among the most important in the world, gathering thousands of specimens, especially of Brazilian marine, terrestrial and water fauna. sweet, and serve as a continuous source of data for research on biodiversity in Brazil.
National Museum in Rio de Janeiro
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 Museu Nacional/UFRJ is part of the Ministry of Education. It is the oldest scientific institution in Brazil and the biggest museum of natural history and anthropology in Latin America. Founded by D. João VI in June 6th, 1818, and initially based in Campo de Sant’Anna, it served the country to promote the cultural and economic development of the country.
Originally named Museu Real, it was incorporated to the Universidade do Brasil in 1946. Currently the Museum is part of the academic structure of the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. The Museum located at Paço de São Cristóvão from 1892 — residency of the Brazilian Imperial Family until 1889 — gave to it a distinguished character if compared to other institutions of the area. It is the same place where the royal family lived for so many years (where D. Pedro II was born and the First Republican Constitutional Assembly happened), and today is the interface between memory and scientific production.
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.