Inside Brazil's Museu Nacional

Discover highlights from their collection and explore the museum as it was before the fire

By Museu Nacional

Meteorite BendegóMuseu Nacional

The National Museum in Rio de Janeiro is Brazil’s oldest natural history institution, founded in June 1818 by King João VI of Portugal, Brazil, and the Algarves.

Titanosaurus (replica)Museu Nacional

Step inside and see what the museum collection has to offer...

Luzia: the human skull

Dates of this skull and the site where it was found suggest its between 11,000 and 11,500 years old. This is the oldest skeleton discovered in the Americas, popularly known as Luzia.

Meteorite Bendegó

Consisting of a compact mass of iron and nickel, it is the largest Brazilian meteorite, as well as one of the largest in the world. It was found in 1784 by a boy, Domingos da Motta Botelho, who grazed cattle on a farm near the town of Monte Santo, in the sertão da Bahia.

The titanosaurus replica

This replica is estimated to be 13 meters long and is representative of the group of sauropods – the herbivorous dinosaurs with long necks and small heads. It was the first large Brazilian dinosaur placed in an exhibition in the country.

Marajoara globular beaker

Painted in black and white with geometric motifs, this vase and its decorative pattern are associated with the movement of water, which is repeated in other objects, such as funeral urns and dishes.

Naked torso

This representation of Venus was found in excavations in 1853. Venus is the goddess of love, fertility, and beauty. The position of the goddess also suggests that it is a representation of the myth of Leda and the Swan.

Coffin of Sha-amun-en-su

In 1876, on his second visit to Egypt, Dom Pedro II was presented with the beautiful painted coffin of the "Singer of Ammon" Sha-Amun-en-su by Quediva Ismail, which remained in his office until the Proclamation of the Republic in 1889.

Mummified cat

Ancient Egyptians also mummified animals. The most popular were cats and their mummies were offered to the cat goddess Bastet. The belief in divine intervention, mediated by a mummified animal, led to the emergence of an animal mummification industry in ancient Egypt.

A diversity of butterflies and moth

You can find these beautiful specimens of butterflies and moth of the Brazilian fauna in the museum. The collection includes the Brazilian silk beetle month and other species of butterflies which are at risk of extinction.

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