Burnt National Museum in Rio had relics from around world

07 September, 2018, 19:41 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
  • Students and National Museum employees protest outside the National Museum of Rio de Janeiro Brazil on Sept. 3 2018

While the immediate cause of the blaze is still unknown, this catastrophe and the irreparable loss to human culture were the product of policies of austerity and the diversion of vast social resources to feed the profits of worldwide finance capital and a rapacious and culturally backward Brazilian capitalist ruling class. However the fireside doubtlessly consumed endless diversified items of Brazil's patrimony: dinosaur bones, passe mummies, recordings of extinct indigenous languages, myriad artifacts that predated the advent of Europeans and even temple frescoes eliminated from the Roman metropolis of Pompeii and transported all by the Atlantic.

"It was the biggest natural history museum in Latin America".

The Globo newspaper wrote in an editorial published Tuesday: "The size of the catastrophe is vast: It struck the national memory, through the loss of the important historical collection; it affected the sciences, interrupting research; and it represents a cultural loss impossible to quantify".

On Monday, President Temer's office said he had held talks with officials from major Brazilian banks and businesses to examine ways to reconstruct the museum "as soon as possible".

Staff have blamed the fire on years of funding cuts.

Roberto Leher, rector of the Rio de Janeiro federal university which administers the museum, said the community was "very mobilised, and very indignant".

The jewel in the crown for many visitors was "Luzia" - the oldest human remains ever discovered in Latin America.

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Firefighters got off to a slow start fighting the inferno because two fire hydrants closest to the museum were not functioning - so trucks had to bring in water from a nearby lake.

According to the museum's deputy director, the building was not insured. Tellingly, at one point the museum had to crowdfund money to fix the base of one of its dinosaur fossils.

"This is the genesis of your country.do you understand?" Kellner, who's also a celebrated Brazilian paleontologist, mentioned to journalists on Monday. "We need society to help us".

Rio's futuristic ecological "Museum of Tomorrow", for example, opened in 2015 at a cost of $215 million reais as part of a port reconstruction project that took place in the city's central Praça Mauá ahead of the tourist boom during the Olympic Games. Don't let us lose our history, because it's the history of Brazil.

From the afternoon until early morning, demonstrators - mostly university students and groups affiliated with the country's vibrant leftist and trade-union movements - voiced their indignation at not only the failure to finance the museum but the broader disdain shown toward Brazil's future as a viable national project where justice is done toward the educational needs of the country's youth. "Brazil is an resplendent nation, a stunning nation, but it for inch is blighted by the dearth of coaching", Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho lamented within the Guardian. "Rich people go to museums - but in London, New York or Paris, not in Rio or São Paulo".

"We all knew the building was in a vulnerable state", he told reporters.

Top Photo | A man watches as flames engulf the 200-year-old National Museum of Brazil, in Rio de Janeiro, Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018.



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