National Historical Museum

The National Historical Museum (Museu Historico Nacional) is known to be one of the most important museums in Brazil

Flags outside the entrance of Museu Histórico Nacional
Flags outside the entrance of Museu Histórico Nacional cc licensed photo by Charlie Phillips

The National Historical Museum (Museu Historico Nacional) is known to be one of the most important museums in Brazil. It highlights, through its exhibitions and artefacts, the social as well as economic history of Brazil.

It was by decree of President Epitacio Pessoa that the National Historical Museum (Museu Historico Nacional) was created in 1922, it officially started its activities in October of that same year. The building, however, was not built that year but was in fact built many years prior to that in 1603 as the St James of Mercy Fort. The building of the structure at that particular point was a defensive military strategy. Other buildings built in the area included a prison for slaves called the Calaboose Prison.

When the museum was first started it only utilized the St James of Mercy Fort but after being in operation for 75 years the fort alone could not hold the ever enlarging collection of artefacts. This is when other structures at Calaboose Point started to be utilized. The museum now includes the Barracks, the ammunition depot, the Calaboose Prison and the War arsenal. The total area of the museum today is 20,000 m2.

The museum has 25 permanent exhibits as well as non permanent ones with the largest numismatic collections of Latin America, you will also find extensive paintings and a sacred art exhibitions of shrines. For those of you more interested in reading about the history of Brazil there are over 50,000 documents as well as photographs and in the library you will find close to 58,000 titles dating as far back as the 15th century. You will also see a large collection of coins and paper money from Latin America. Through its artifacts and documentation you get to learn about the history of Brazil from the colonial times to the modern day. This helps you to better understand the country of Brazil and its people.

Most of the collection was amassed when the Ministry of Culture was responsible for the museum. It was the first museum in Brazil to run museology courses, making it the leading educational institution for many of the other local museums.

A trip to the National Historic Museum is well worth it, especially if you are interested in getting a more in depth look into Brazil.

Facts For Your Visit

Fee: Yes

National Historical Museum Hours:
Opening hours may differ on holidays

  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Address: Praça Mal. Âncora, s/n - Centro, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 20021-200, Brazil

Phone: (21) 3299-0324

Official Website: National Historical Museum

National Historical Museum Reviews

Rated 4.8 out of 5 Star Rating

5 Star Rating Great Museum with the right balance of Brazilian history and diversity. I visited this place many years ago and it has nothing lost of the fascination and details. Our sons loved it and enjoy the family friendly trip. The Museum is well organized and safe. During the weekend the Center in Rio is empty and it is strongly suggested to arrive by taxi.
Axel Schönborn - a year ago

Show More
Show Less

5 Star Rating Wonderful free museum with so much content! Helps you understand the history of Brazil and how it got to the present point.
JC Bassicly - 4 months ago

Show More
Show Less

5 Star Rating Essential museum to visit in order to get a good lesson in Brazilian history. The location, albeit a bit remote, in the center, is very nice and the perspective on history is modern and progressive. I just wish the museum would provide its employees with more adapted uniforms as it is quite hot in there, in the summer, without air conditioning. Make them wear shorts, nice short sleeve shirts and lighter shoes. You ARE progressive, Museum of national history ! Por favor !
patrice c. - 4 months ago

Show More
Show Less

4 Star Rating This place is enormous, and well worth checking out. It's housed in a beautiful old building with an interior courtyard, there are multiple levels. You will need at least two hours to thoroughly explore the entire place because it's huge. The only thing that I would have liked is a better focus on the indigenous history of Brazil.
Christopher Suttenfield - 7 years ago

Show More
Show Less

5 Star Rating Free museum! Very educational because there were people on field trips. Most of the exhibits has english translation for easy understanding.
Town Traveller - a year ago

Show More
Show Less


Metro Line Nearest Station Walking Time
Line 1 - Orange or Line 2 GreenCarioca13 Minutes

How to get to National Historical Museum by Metro

Make your way to Carioca Station and take the south exit to Av. Almirante Barroso follow it to your left (east). When you reach Av. Presidente Antonio Carlos cross at the cross walk just to your right and continue east along Rua Marechal Aguinaldo Caiado de Castro all the way to the museum.

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 National Historical Museum:

Photo Gallery


Please provide consent and/or disable ad blocker to view the video.

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!