The Imperial Palace in Petrópolis was one of the homes of the Brazilian Imperial family. Built with the Emperor’s private resources during the period 1845-1862, the project was developed by the then Superintendant of the Royal Farm, Major Julius Friedrich Koeler. After his death, it was modified by Cristóforo Bonini who added the granite portico to the central building. In order to complete the construction two well-know architects that had ties with the Royal Academy of Fine Arts were contracted: Joaquim Cândido Guillobel and José Maria Jacinto Rebelo; Manuel Araújo Porto Alegre was also contracted to undertake its decoration. The complex was enriched, during the 1850 decade, by the garden: planned and executed by the landscape architect Jean-Baptiste Binot under the orientation of the young emperor.
Among the highlights of the decor, many can be seen today. The foyer floor in Carrara marble and black marble from Belgium , floors and window frames in wood and the stucco of the Dining room, Music and Ballroom , the Empress living room, the State room and the Sleeping room of their Majesties, contribute to grace and beauty to the palace environment, one of the most important architectural monuments in Brazil.
D. Pedro II loved his summer residence and the town that grew up around it. The lengthy periods that he spent in Petrópolis created an atmosphere for a summer resort; firstly, the monarch and the aristocracy of the Empire; this was then followed by presidents and politicians of the Republic; the custom continues – even today.
A specialized team led by the creator and first museum director, Alcindo Sodré, began to study the history of the building and the task of location the belongings of the Imperial family in the various palaces, in order to illustrate the XIX century in a diversified way: the day by day of the Bragança family. Important national collectors joined forces with the project, donating objects of historic and artistic interest.
As a result the Imperial Museum was inaugurated on march 16 1943, with a significant collection of objects relating to the Brazilian Imperial period. During the last seven decades a very large number of documents, books and objects, in a total nearly 300 thousand items, thanks to the generosity of the many hundreds of donors, are now part of the museum.