The National Museum of Brazil: One Year Later
During a freak accident, in 2018, the oldest and most significant historical and scientific museum in Brazil was set ablaze. While the damages were great, however, from the ashes the museum is being rebuilt.
Now, a year after the tragedy, the National Museum of Brazil is announcing plans for a partial reopening. Their aim: to open its doors in three years.
The news comes from a press conference held last week, at the Brazilian Academy of Sciences with Denise Pires. The head of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, which is in charge of the site.
“Our intention is to inaugurate a part of the reconstructed palace in 2022. With expositions that let us celebrate the bicentennial of Brazil’s independence,” she told the press, according to La Vanguardia.
Currently, $2.7 million has gone into addressing the damage to the museum. Pires announced at the conference that the museum had raised $16.4 million for reconstruction. The lions share of funding has come from the Brazilian government. However, donations have come from international organizations. Such as UNESCO. In addition, help from foreign governments, most notably Germany has made contributions. However, the exact sum of the total restoration of the institution will cost is still unknown.
A New Start
Initially, the fire, caused by a malfunctioning air conditioner seemingly wiped out the museum’s collection. Reports initially indicating as much as 90 percent of the museum’s collection lost. However, the final toll was not quite so devastating; the extent of the loss is still great. 17 of its 34 collections completely or partially destroyed, amounting to about half of the museum’s holdings.
These range from its entomology collection. Featuring a unique catalog of 5 million insect specimens, to its collection relating to native cultures. One indigenous researcher compared the destruction of those artifacts to “a new genocide.”
After an extensive effort, recovery crews were able to boost the number of recovered items from 1,500 to 2,000. According to a report from the AFP. Such as the 11,500-year-old skull of “Luzia,” the oldest human ever found in the Americas. And the Bendegó meteorite, the largest ever found in the country.
The press conference revealing that some new objects that had been saved. Including a 19th-century samurai mask and a bronze statue of the Egyptian goddess Bastet.
Reconstruction of the facade of the historic building is scheduled to begin for September.