The U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Brazil, the Fulbright Commission and the Smithsonian Institution announced an emergency exchange program for 14 researchers whose research was interrupted by the fire at the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro, last September. In 2019, they will travel to the United States to conclude their experiments in museums of the Smithsonian Institution – the world’s largest museum, educational, and research complex – during periods of approximately 30 days.

The 14 selected scholars had documents, specimens and other items essential to their research destroyed by the fire, making the completion of their experiments and research projects impossible. Their areas of research are diverse and include, among others, indigenous languages, ethnology, carcinology, arachnology and paleontology of vertebrates.

The agreement was celebrated in a ceremony at the Macaco Tião Auditorium, in the Rio Zoo, with the participation of U.S Consulate in Rio Public Affairs Officer Viraj Lebailly, National Museum Director Alexander Kellner, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro Superintendent for Research Marcelo Byrro, Fulbright Commission Executive Director Luiz Valcov Loureiro, and Smithsonian Institution Research Fellow C. David de Santana.

 

A massive fire gutted Brazil’s 200-year-old National Museum in Rio de Janeiro on September 3rd, 2018. The fire, which quickly spread throughout the building, started after the facility had closed for the day. No casualties were reported.

More than 20 million archeological and historical finds have been destroyed in the blaze. Here are some of the priceless and irreplaceable pieces that have been lost:

Maxakalisaurus Topai

One of the most treasured dinosaur items was the Maxakalisaurus Topai, which was one of the museum’s main attractions with its own, dedicated exhibition room.

Found in the Minas Gerais region in 1998, it was the country’s biggest skeleton of a dinosaur of this size.

The herbivore, which lived some 80 million years ago, weighed 9 tons and was 13-meter long.

Mummified Remains

The museum’s collection included a rare example of mummified remains found in the Brazilian province of Goianá, dating to 600 years prior to the arrival of Europeans. The mummies of a woman and two children were donated to Emperor Dom Pedro II, the second and last monarch of the Empire of Brazil.

Classical Archeology

The museum owns a collection of 750 Greek, Etruscan and Roman items. It was considered to be the largest classical archeology collection in Latin America.

Ethnic Artefacts from the Amazon

The museum also held an important collect of ethnic art from the Amazon region and central Brazil.

Pre-Columbian Artworks

The collection encompassed pieces from Andean civilizations, including the Inca, Chancay, and Nazca people. The collection featured textiles and illustrative ceramics, which provided insights into manufacturing and trading behaviors.

The Scientific Library

Alongside the countless precious artifacts, the museum was also home to a substantial scientific library that contained almost 500,000 books, documents, and papers.