(MENAFN- Brazil-Arab News Agency (ANBA))
Rio de Janeiro – Despite the losses in the fire in September 2018, the National Museum of Rio de Janeiro will still have the most extensive collection of Ancient Egypt in South America. The estimate was made by the institution's director, paleontologist Alexander Kellner. Pictured above, the museum is under reconstruction.
“I don't want to mitigate the impacts, since we lost a lot. But we also managed to recover a lot,” he said, during an online chat hosted this Tuesday (21) by the Natural Science Museum of Jewels of Nature, an institution based in Guarujá, in the state of São Paulo.
The importance of the Ancient Egypt collection, according to Kellner, is incalculable.“One of the most touching moments for me was when I received a visit from the consul general of Egypt. He spoke of the mummies and wept. It impressed me. That was very important to him. The first word I said to him was“sorry.” It was an apology for the country.”
Linked to the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), the National Museum is located in Quinta da Boa Vista and is the oldest scientific institution in Brazil. It was founded by Portuguese king John VI in 1818. Three years ago, a massive fire ravaged rare specimens, such as skeletons of prehistoric animals, ethnographic artifacts, and mummies.
Considering all collections, the National Museum had about 20 million items, and an estimated 15% have been preserved.“It's still 3 million. And we'll be able to rescue more,” says Kellner.
The director also presents a more optimistic picture considering the representativeness of the collections.“We recovered material representing almost half of what we had. Let me give you an example. Let's say we had a hundred fossils of Rhacolepis [prehistoric fish]. If we have lost 99 but preserved one, we'll have this collection represented. The main meteorites, we were able to recover, as well as anthropological material.”
The work of salvaging the collection is not yet over, but the director reiterates the National Museum continues to function with research and events, including online and on-site exhibitions. Kellner also presented the status of the reconstruction project. Later this year, the extensive renovation of the façade and roof will begin. The expectation is for the outdoor garden to be finished next year. Completion of the entire renovation is estimated for 2026 or 2027.
Translated by Elúsio Brasileiro
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