Massive Fire Engulfs Brazil’s Oldest Museum

Old and Rare Relics Turned to Ashes

A massive fire engulfed Brazil’s National Museum in Rio de Janeiro, destroying an archive of around 200 million historical items.

The fire began to burn the oldest and historical museum on Saturday and was still raging during the night.

No injuries were reported but the loss of valuable records and artifacts from the Brazilian past is incalculable.

Museum officials expressed deep loss and sadness for the tragedy.

Luiz Duarte, another vice-director, said, “It is an unbearable catastrophe. It is 200 years of this country’s heritage. It is 200 years of memory. It is 200 years of science. It is 200 years of culture, of education.”

The National Museum in the country’s capital of Rio de Janeiro had invaluable collections of rare and impressive relics over 100 years old.

Neglect From The Government

The Brazilian government cannot pinpoint the cause of the fire. However, National Museum officials blamed the government. The said they turned a deaf ear on the issue of repair and failed to support the endeavors of the museum.

Luiz Duarte, the museum’s vice-director, aired his resentment about the government’s failure to address the needs of the museum.

At its 200th birthday in June, not one state minister appeared.

Duarte said, “For many years we fought with different governments to get adequate resources to preserve what is now completely destroyed,” he said. “My feeling is of total dismay and immense anger.”

The museum was part of Rio’s Federal University but had fallen into disrepair in recent years. It dates back to 1818 and is one of the oldest museums in South America.

The Collections

It was a sad day for all Brazilians as the country’s most valuable historical treasures were believed to have been destroyed and turned to ashes.

Impressive collections of the country’s artifacts and from ancient Egypt, Greece and Italy were believed to be destroyed in the fierce blaze.

The museum, part of Rio’s Federal University, contained millions of historical relics. One of its famous artefacts is the “Luzia,” the oldest human fossil to have been found in Brazil. It was a 12,000 year-old skeleton and considered to be the oldest in the Americas.

Aside from that, the museum’s collection preserved irreplaceable art and objects from Brazil’s indigenous people as well. The collections tell stories how the earliest people lived in the continent and how they were influenced and colonized by the Europeans.

The National Museum also housed a large collections of fossils. One example is the fossilized turtles from 110m years ago. They were considered the oldest found in the country.

In addition, the museum was home to a scientific library that contained nearly half a million volumes, including 2,400 described as rare works.

Brazil's National Museum was established in 1818. Image by Public Co from Pixabay.
Brazil’s National Museum was established in 1818. Image by Public Co from Pixabay
Mina Fabulous
Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn't preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.