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Brazil’s oldest and most important museum, The Museu Nacional, is consumed by fire

The museum held a priceless collection. 20 million objects, Egyptian mummies, Greco-Roman artworks, dinosaur fossils and the oldest human fossil in the region, may have been destroyed in the fire that started on September 3rd 2018. “It was the biggest natural history museum in Latin America. We have collections that are over 100 years old” said Cristiana Serejo, one of the museum’s vice directors.

The loss is already being compared to that of the library of Alexandria. According to anthropologist Mércio Gomes, “We Brazilians only have 500 years of history. Our National Museum was 200 years old, but that’s what we had, and what is lost forever. We have to reconstruct our National Museum.” The antique building, once the emperor’s palace, was deemed an “incalculable loss for Brazil” by its President Michel Temer.

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If you want to help:

While many of the pieces can never be replaced, History and Museology students at the Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro are working to build a digital archive of the Museu Nacional. They’re asking people who’ve visited the Museu Nacional to send them videos, photos, and even selfies so that they can “in some way revive the memory of this place”. If you have any record of the museum, send them to

A horrible, horrible loss.