Update About Museu Nacional do Brasil (9/9/18)

Museu Nacional do Brazil – update 9/9/2018

BNDES (Brazilian Development Bank) approved transferring R$25 million (6.25US$ million dollars) to the Federal Government to issue a solicitation for security, fire prevention and modernization projects in museums, archives and cultural institutions in Brazil. The solicitation should be published until the end of September. The intention is to avoid future disasters like the one occurred in the National Museum of Brazil. According to the President of BNDES, Dyogo Oliveira, “there are about 500 federal museums that would require such attention[1]. There are plans to incorporate an adjacent area close to the Museum to receive an annex of the Museum.

According to the Minister of Education the reconstruction of the Museum is a multi-jurisdictional effort which can take up to one year. The National Museum of Brazil is administered financially by the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, which has autonomy to distribute funds received from Federal government.

Until he day of the fire, the National Museum of Brazil was functioning without the Fire Department seal of approval, which is a requirement by law for any construction to have. However, historical buildings in Brazil struggle with the challenges to comply with the current fire protection regulations and the regulations from the National Institute for Historic and Artistic Patrimony (IPHAN) that prohibit alterations in historic buildings.
This disaster may be another opportunity to discuss and resolve those issues, which would be of great impact for cultural institutions nationwide.

Some efforts to collect images of the Museum prior to the fire are in place at the moment:

  • Students of the museology course at UNIRIO (University of Rio de Janeiro) created the email below to receive photographs/videos/even selfies of the collection and exhibition spaces: museo@gmail.com
  • Wikipedia is also collecting images. “There were over 20 million objects inside the #MuseuNacional. Did you take a photo of any of them? Help us preserve the memories of as many as we can and add them to @wikicommons,” Wikipedia tweeted Tuesday, (9/4) with an explanation on how to do so.

The Federal University of RJ (UFRJ) created the following links to receive communications regarding the fire in the Museum: falecomdiretor@mn.ufrj.br

For donations, use subject: DOAÇÃO
For volunteer work, use subject: VOLUNTARIADO
For donation of digital copies of research material, use subject: DOAÇÃO DE COPIAS

I sent a message on behalf of APOYOnline, informing the efforts of the network to connect and keep preservation experts from Latin-American and institutions from United States and Canada informed about the recovery efforts. I informed them of the many messages of solidarity I am receiving and the great interest to collaborate with the conservation community in Brazil during the recovery efforts. We stand ready to assist with expertise, research, supplies and hands-on work on the recovery of the collections and emergency disaster management actions.

I want to end this update with the translation of what was written on the floors in front of the National Museu: “All those who enter this place, protect it, as it safeguards documentation that reveals the culture of a generation and a mark in the history of a people who knew how to build their own future[2].

Best,
Beatriz Haspo
bhaspo@haspo.biz

[1] https://g1.globo.com/google/amp/politica/noticia/2018/09/04/bndes-anuncia-edital-de-r-25-milhoes-para-projetos-de-seguranca-e-prevencao-contra-incendio-de-museus.ghtml

[2] https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/colunas/marcelogleiser/2018/09/queima-do-museu-nacional-e-perda-para-o-brasil-e-para-o-mundo.shtml

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