Monday 3 September 2018

A Huge Fire has Destroyed Brazil's National Museum

'We Brazilians have only 500 years
of history.
Our National Museum was 200 years old.
Our memory is small,
but that’s what we had,
and it is lost for ever' 
BBC Brazil museum fire: Funding cuts blamed as icon is gutted

The Museum today

Officials in Brazil have blamed lack of funding for a huge fire that has ravaged the country's National Museum. One of the largest anthropology and natural history collections in the Americas was almost totally destroyed in Sunday's fire in Rio de Janeiro.  [...] The fire started on Sunday evening, after the building - a 19th Century former royal palace - closed for the day. The cause is not known. No injuries have been reported but most of the 20 million items the museum contained [...] went up in flames. Brazil's President Michel Temer said in a tweet that it was a "sad day for all Brazilians" as "200 years of work, research and knowledge were lost". 
There had been complaints about the dilapidated state of the museum. "We never had adequate support," its deputy director said after the fire.
This was a museum that many saw as long ignored and underfunded - now, with devastating consequences for Brazil's heritage. What did the museum contain? Its 20 million artefacts included fossils, dinosaur bones and a 12,000-year-old skeleton of a woman known as "Luzia", the oldest ever discovered in Latin America. The building was also home to items covering the centuries from the arrival of the Portuguese in the 1500s to the declaration of a republic in 1889. The ethnology collection had unique pieces from the pre-Columbian era and artifacts from indigenous cultures.
Demonstrators gathered at the gates of the museum on Monday
morning, protesting against the budget cuts that they blame for the fire.
Police were seen firing tear gas. Image copyrightEPA 

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