Mail & Guardian: ‘South America’s biggest museum was destroyed by fire on my watch’. “The fire at the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris devastated one of the world’s most iconic buildings, an incalculable loss to humanity’s architectural, religious and cultural heritage. Alexander Kellner knows exactly what this feels like. He was in charge of Brazil’s National Museum when it burnt down last year, destroying more than 90% of the collection. This is his story.”
Google Blog: Inside Brazil’s National Museum on Google Arts & Culture. “On September 2nd 2018, a fire struck the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, one of the largest collections of natural history in the world. An estimated 20 million pieces were lost, including indigenous artifacts, dinosaur remains and the oldest human skeleton ever discovered in the Americas. Starting back in 2016, Google Arts & Culture had begun working with the museum to bring their collection online—so that anyone, anywhere in the world could see and learn about these ancient artifacts. Now for the first time ever, you can virtually step inside the museum and learn about its lost collection through Street View imagery and online exhibits.”
The Art Newspaper: Rain threatens recovery effort at Brazil’s National Museum. “As months of seasonal rain descend on Rio de Janeiro, researchers working in the rubble of the gutted National Museum fear that the dampness could imperil salvaging efforts after September’s devastating fire. ‘There is rain and heat soon after, which is not good at all’ for the objects, the researcher Cláudia Carvalho told Globo earlier this month. Ceramics, metallic objects and meteorites are particularly vulnerable, she adds.”
BBC: Brazil museum fire: Prized ‘Luzia’ fossil skull recovered. “Most of the skull from a prized 12,000-year-old fossil nicknamed Luzia has been recovered from the wreckage of a fire in Brazil’s National Museum. The 200-year-old building in Rio de Janeiro burned down in September, destroying almost all of its artefacts. But on Friday the museum’s director announced that 80% of Luzia’s skull fragments had been identified.”
Observer: Wikipedia Has Received Thousands of Images for Their Archive of Brazil’s Museum Fire Losses. “Following the fire, Dornicke [a Wikipedia editor] corralled some editors in the Portuguese-language edition of Wikipedia to act. They drafted a call for anyone with media from the museum to upload those to the Commons, alongside instructions on how to do so. Since posting the announcement on September 4, photos have been flooding in. New users are joining in droves to offer what they have, which has resulted in between 2,400 and 3,000 new images as of September 6.”
Remezcla: Students Are Collecting Images to Digitally Preserve Brazil’s Museu Nacional After Tragic Fire. “The loss of such an important establishment has sparked feelings of anger, lament, and shock. As many blame the government for not properly investing in the Museo Nacional and accuse the current administration of trying to erase their history, others are looking for ways to help. And while, many of these pieces can never be replaced, students at the Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro are hoping to build a digital archive of sorts. ”
CNET: Wikipedia seeks photos of 20 million artifacts lost in Brazilian museum fire. “Wikipedia is fighting to preserve the memories of the 20 million artifacts lost in Sunday’s Brazilian museum fire. The Museu Nacional in Rio — one of the largest museums in the Americas — was consumed by fire and irreplaceable objects like the oldest human fossil found in Brazil and a 5.5-ton meteorite found in 1784 are believed to have been lost.” I’m sorry if it seems I’m harping on this, but it’s an incredible, incalculable loss. The Rio Olympics cost over $13 billion while this museum couldn’t get funding. Sometimes reading the news makes me want to cry.
The Atlantic: What Was Lost in Brazil’s Devastating Museum Fire. “Over the past five years, the museum faced severe cuts and didn’t even receive its full allotted funds from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. It was recently forced to crowdfund money to repair the termite-damaged base of one of its grandest mounted dinosaurs. ‘For many years, we fought with different governments to get adequate resources to preserve what is now completely destroyed,’ Luiz Fernando Dias Duarte, the museum’s deputy director, has said.”