The National Museum of Brazil was once called the Royal Museum as established by the King of Portugal Dom João VI's. The purpose of the museum was to promote scientific research in Brazil which, up until that time, was sorely missing and, as a result, very little of the fauna and flora and microbes were studied. The King realised that there was so much about their habitat that they were yet to learn about and that Brazil did not have the facilities or scientists who could make sense of all that was to be discovered.
Soon after the museum was built in 1818 it started to attract interest from European naturalists such as Maximilian zu Wied-Neuweid and Carl Friedrich Phillip von Martius. Later the King started to extend his invitation to other scientists such as botanists, biologist, chemists, geologists, anthropologists, archaeologists and palaeontologists. By inviting foreign scientists he gave them the opportunity to make discoveries of their own in Brazil as well as use the facilities at the National Museum of Brazil to conduct research.
The King was an amateur scientist himself and so he dedicated a lot of resources and energy to the quest of discovery from a scientific perspective of Brazil. He amassed quite a collection on his trips oversees, some of which can be seen at the museum.
Due to a military coup in 1889, the National Museum was moved to the Imperial Palace in Quinta da Boa Vista and is still there to this day. The site is also well worth the visit from a historical perspective. Walking from room to room we can only but imagine what things were like for those living in between those walls.
When visiting the museum today what you should expect to see is a scientific institution, this is not a museum to be compared to many other museums. That being said, for those who are interested in the research from a scientific and historical point of view you will be happy to know that it has the world's largest collection of Natural History with nearly 20 million objects. It even has an Egyptian collection which is the biggest collection in the world outside of Egypt.
While you are in the area you can also take a walk to the Zoo which is close by, if this interests you. You can easily make a day of it as there are other tourist attractions in the area.
Facts For Your Visit
Hours: Closed for Restoration
Address: Quinta da Boa Vista, São Cristóvão, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
Official Website: Museu Nacional Brazil
|Line 2 - Green
How to get to Museu Nacional Brazil by Metro
Take the Metro to São Cristóvão Station on Line 2. Exit and take the pedestrian ramps over to the north side of the train tracks descending down the left ramp. Cross the road into the park and continue along the path to the museum.
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