A huge fire has consumed the national museum of Brazil, located in Rio De Janeiro, after the facility closed to the public on Sunday.
Fortunately, there were no reported casualties but the loss is to Brazilian science, history and culture. The reason for the fire is yet to be known.
The museum was founded in 1818, a former royal palace that was holding over 20 million items including The Museu Nacional artefacts from Egypt, Greco-Roman art and some of the first fossils found in Brazil.
Michel Temer, Brazilian President, said through a tweet on Sunday: “The loss of the National Museum’s collection is insurmountable for Brazil. Two hundred years of work, research and knowledge were lost, it’s a sad day for all Brazilians.”
The museum, considered one of the largest museums of natural history and anthropology in the Americas, contained millions of artefacts that included the 12,000 year old “Luzia” which is the oldest skeleton in the Americas, the largest meteorite in Brazil that was found in 1784, fossils, and dinosaurs. Whereas the ethnology collection withheld unique pieces from the pre-Columbian era.
Brazil’s national museum was just celebrating its 200th years anniversary last June. Even though some pieces were to be saved, the damage hit the largest share of the collection and caused it to be irreparable. The huge loss was compared to the burning of the Alexandrian library in 48BC by Mércio Gomes, former president of Brazil’s indigenous agency, Fundação Nacional do Índio.