Museum of the Indian | Museu do Índio

A museum dedicated to the history and culture of Brazil's indigenous people

Museum of the Indian
Museum of the Indian cc licensed photo by MDOIB

Long before any of the Portuguese settlers came to Brazil influencing the setting and making it what it is today; there were other people who called this area home. People who were indigenous to this area. People who are all but forgotten.

Though you may find many museums and cultural institutions dedicated to Portuguese history and Brazilian history after the Portuguese arrived there is only one official institution in Brazil that is exclusively dedicated to the indigenous cultures and tribes of Brazil.

The objective of the Indian Museum (Museu do Indio) is to present people with accurate information regarding these indigenous societies as well as to tell the story of these cultures known as Povos Indigenas in Portuguese. The museum was created in Rio de Janeiro in 1953 by Darcy Ribeiro.

The museum was housed in an old mansion in the Botafogo district built by an entrepreneur named Joao Rodrigues Teixeira. The building has 11 rooms which feature many exhibitions of the various tribes, not all the wealth of artefacts are on display but the Indian Museum has an archive with more than 30,000 artefacts, 50,000 photographs, 200 video and sound recordings and more than 500,000 historical documents. Many of these documents also show the political position of the indigenous people from the 19th century to the present day.

All of this information provides viewers with an in depth look into the social, religious and economic lifestyle of the indigenous people. The exhibits are not just appreciated from the perspective of knowledge but they are also set up in a way that is very artistic and interesting. There are even interactive exhibits for children who visit the museum.

The gardens are also used as a space for four life size exhibitions which depict the dwelling places of the tribes such as the Xingu kitchen showing the materials used to cook and eat and also a Kuarup, which is a ritual house.

For those who are interested in learning about ancient tribes and life pre and post Portuguese settlement from the indigenous perspective, a visit to the Indian Museum is a must.

Facts For Your Visit

Official Website: Museu do Índio

Fee: Yes

Closed Now

Regular Hours:
Hours may be subject to change. Please verify on the official website.

  • Tuesday: 9:00 am - 5:30 pm
  • Wednesday: 9:00 am - 5:30 pm
  • Thursday: 9:00 am - 5:30 pm
  • Friday: 9:00 am - 5:30 pm
  • Saturday: 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
  • Sunday: 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Category: Museums

Address: R. das Palmeiras, 55
Rio de Janeiro - RJ 22270-070

Phone: +55 21 3214-8702


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Metro Line Nearest Station Walking Time
Line 1 - Orange or Line 2 GreenBotafogo12 Minutes

How to get to Museu do Índio by Metro

Exit Botafogo Station and walk south to Rua Voluntarios da Patria and go right (west) for 4 blocks to Rua das Palmeiras then go right (north) again and watch for the museum on your left ½ block up.

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