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National Museum of Brazil

National Museum

The National Museum of Rio de Janeiro is located in the old palace of the emperors of Brazil " O Palacio São Cristovão". The museum itself was founded as the Royal Museum by the King of Portugal Dom João VI in 1818 to give an incentive for scientific research in Brazil, an almost inexistent area in the immense colony of Portugal. The museum started out as a showcase for the botanical and animal species of Brazil, especially birds, that is why the museum got the nickname "House of the birds". The museum was first located in the center of the city at the Santana parc, it was only after the imperial period of Brazil that the museum was relocated in the old Palace of the Emperors at Quinta da Boa Vista.


When Prince Peter married with princess Maria Leopoldina of Austria they invited European naturalists to Brazil, such as Johann Baptist von Spix and Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius, who started  working for the museum.  Many other European researchers, like Augustin Saint-Hilaire, Georg Heinrich von Langsdorff, contributed to the collection of natural specimens and ethnological institution, in their expeditions through the country. During the nineteenth century, following  the preferences of the Emperor Dom Pedro II as the new European interest in the National Museum started to invest in the fields of anthropology, paleontology and archeology. The Emperor himself, an enthusiast of all branches of science, contributed several pieces of Egyptian art, fossils and botanical specimens, among other items, obtained by him in his travels. Thus the National Museum is being modernized and became the most important center of South America in Natural History and Human Sciences.
In 1946 the museum began to be administered by the University of Brazil, currently the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. Researchers and their classrooms and laboratories occupy much of the palace and some buildings erected in the Botanic Garden at Quinta da Boa Vista. The Garden is still one of the largest research libraries in Rio de Janeiro. Currently, the National Museum offers postgraduate students related to the University in the following areas: Social anthropology, botany, geology and paleontology, and zoology.
The palace houses the exhibition of one of the largest collections of the Americas of stuffed animals, minerals, collections of insects, indigenous tools, Egyptian mummies and South American, meteorites, fossils and archaeological finds.

Practical information:

Visiting Hours:

time tue. thru sun. from 10:00 am. until 4:00 pm.

Adults: R$ 6,00

Children 0-5 years : Free

Children 6-10 years: R$ 3,00

National Museum of Brazil

Quinta da Boa Vista Rio de Janeiro RJ 20940-040 Brazil

Latitude: -22.905667
Longitude: -43.226106
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