200-Year-Old Brazil National Museum Is On Fire: Here Are What Rare Artifacts Were Affected + Theory of Possible Causes (PICTURES)

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A massive fire destroys millions of rare artifacts at Brazil’s 200-year-old National Museum in Rio de Janeiro.

Keep on reading Nexter.org to know more.

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Source: AP Photo/Leo Correa

In a nutshell

A horrible fire raced through Brazil’s 200-year-old National Museum in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, destroying its collection of more than 20 million rare artifacts, ranging from archeological finds to historical memorabilia.

The destruction of the building, once a palace for emperors that had fallen into disrepair, was an “incalculable loss for Brazil,” President Michel Temer said in a statement.

“Two hundred years of work, research and knowledge were lost.”

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The cause of fire hasn’t been determined yet. Firefighters in Rio did not reply to requests for comment.

The fire began after the end of visiting hours at 5 p.m., burning out of control throughout the building late into the night.

“It was the biggest natural history museum in Latin America. We have invaluable collections. Collections that are over 100 years old,” Cristiana Serejo, one of the museum’s vice directors, told the G1 news site.

The museum, which is tied to the Rio de Janeiro federal university and the education ministry, was founded in 1818. It houses several landmark collections, including Egyptian artifacts and the oldest human fossil found in Brazil.

The museum had suffered from years of neglect under numerous governments, the institution’s vice-director the Globo TV network on Sunday night.

“We never got anything from the federal government,” said the official, Luiz Duarte. “We recently finalized an agreement with (state-run development bank) BNDES for a massive investment, so that we could finally restore the palace and, ironically, we had planned on a new fire prevention system.”

Possible causes of fire (unofficial)

As we wrote before, there’s no official cause of the fire but still, some conspiracy theories exist that could explain the accident.

First of all, it looks suspicious for some that the fire started after visitors have left the museum – so the aim, perhaps was not to harm anybody.

Also, taking to account the level of corruption in Brazil and countries of Latin America, it might be possible that the fire was made on purpose – to hide the fact that some most valuable paintings and artworks were stollens by third parties.

Actually, the fire is a perfect way to cover the tracks as the loss may be taking as a damage from the blaze.

But still, we highlight that this is an unconfirmed version and just unofficial theory.

What items the museum contained

Among the 20 million items it housed were archaeological artifacts, fossils and the largest meteorite discovered in the country.

The natural history collection included dinosaur bones and a 12,000-year-old skeleton of a woman known as “Luzia”, the oldest ever found in the Americas.

The building was also home to historical documents covering the centuries from the arrival of the Portuguese in the 1500s to the declaration of a republic in 1889.

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Portugal’s transferred the court to the building in 1808, when the country faced with the threat of invasion from Napoleon.

Art and artefacts from Greco-Roman times and Egypt were also on display at the museum.


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200-Year-Old Brazil National Museum Is On Fire: Here Are What Rare Artifacts Were Affected (PICTURES)
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200-Year-Old Brazil National Museum Is On Fire: Here Are What Rare Artifacts Were Affected (PICTURES)
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A massive fire destroys millions of rare artifacts at Brazil's 200-year-old National Museum in Rio de Janeiro.
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