The National Historic Museum of Rio de Janeiro is considered one of the most important museums of Brazil. The architectonical complex was originally built in 1567 and had a main role in the city’s defense strategy. The building that currently occupies the National Museum was added in 1762 and is known as the "Casa de Trem" or the "Ammunition Depot", which was originally used to store the munitions and equipment for the Portugal’s troops. After Brazil became independent the Casa de Trem became the center of production for the Brazilian Army.
The historic architectonical complex turned into a museum in 1922, when the building housed an International Exposition and two of the main rooms were dedicated to National History. Time passed and the National Historic Museum took over the entire complex, which occupies over 9,000 square meters. Today is one of the most visited cultural attractions in Rio.
The National Museum of Rio is home to over 287,000 items including paintings, guns, royal carts, furniture and rare objects. It houses both permanent and temporary exhibitions as well as special activities for students, courses, video exhibitions and seminars. The permanent exhibits were divided in two themes in 1987, one representing the economic aspect and the other the social aspect of Brazil’s history. One of the permanent exhibits named “Colonization and Dependence” tackles the colonization of Brazil as well as its economic and cultural development, represented by items that bring to life the sugar-cane and coffee industries, mining, colonial commerce and the presence of the Portuguese court.
The National Historic Museum also houses over 50,000 historic documents and manuscripts, as well as a library with more than 57,000 books on Brazilian Art, Museology, Heraldic, Numismatic, Fashion and Genealogy. If you are planning tourism in Rio, make sure you add this museum into your cultural agenda.
A complete visit to the National Historic Museum of Rio would take many days, but a whole day is enough to visit the main galleries and get a clear general idea of Brazil’s history.
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