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an archive with more than 30,000 artefacts, 50,000 photographs, 200 video and sound recordings and more than 500,000 historical documents.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

Fee: Yes

Museu do Índio Hours:
Opening hours may differ on holidays

  • Monday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Thursday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Friday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Saturday: Closed
  • Sunday: Closed

Address: Rua das Palmeiras, 55 - Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 22270-070, Brazil

Phone: (21) 2536-4016

Official Website: Museu do Índio

Museu do Índio Reviews

Rated 4.2 out of 5 Star Rating

5 Star Rating Beautiful samples of clothing and jewelry of indigenous groups of Brazil. Very interesting videos. Only in Portuguese, but I was assisted by a very helpful staff person, and I was able to understand a lot with my limited Spanish. I was particularly interested in the video on beads in various cultures and how Africans made beads from recycled glass. Excellent air conditioning
Laura C - 8 years ago

Show More
Show Less

4 Star Rating Main floor was closed. (Till end of 2014). But the temporary exhibition on the ground floor was absolutely worth the trip.
Decuypere Walter - 9 years ago

Show More
Show Less

2 Star Rating Look forward to it so much but it’s closed until June 2020 for construction :(((
K Ma - 4 years ago

Show More
Show Less


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.

Map & Instant Route Finder

Click&Go Map and Route Finder with public transit, walking, driving or cycling directions. Get up-to-the-minute transit times for your route.

Finding Your Route - Please Wait

Accommodations near Museu do Índio:

Photo Gallery

Rio de Janeiro Hotel Deals

Book Now, Pay Later
Price Matching
2,563,000+ Properties Worldwide
24/7 Support logo sale banner link

Visiting Rio de Janeiro?
Here's why we use for our hotel bookings.
Best Selection
Daily Deals
Price Matching
Pay at the Hotel
24/7 Support
Share on Pinterest
Share on Pinterest
Help us grow! Please Share
Thanks for Visiting!