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Brazil suffers loss as 200-Year-Old National Museum goes up in Flames

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – SEPTEMBER 02: A fire burns at the National Museum of Brazil on September 2, 2018 in Rio de Janeiro. The museum, which is tied to the Rio de Janeiro federal university and the Education Ministry, was founded in 1818 by King John VI of Portugal. It houses several landmark collections including Egyptian artefacts and the oldest human fossil found in Brazil. Its collections include more than 20 million items ranging from archaeological findings to historical memorabilia.

Brazil’s national museum, it’s oldest and most historical, has gone up in flames.

According to Guardian, the fire started Sunday night, while it was closed to the public, and the loss suffered has been described as “incalculable.”

Collections of over a 100 years have been lost in the fire, one of the museum’s vice directors Cristiana Serejo, has said.

It was the biggest natural history museum in Latin America. We have invaluable collections. Collections that are over 100 years old.

This was Rio’s Museu Nacional before tonight’s fire. Reports are that it was entirely destroyed in little more than an hour. That something like this could happen to a building of this importance is a staggering institutional and governance failure. pic.twitter.com/mwWAHqEftD

— Incunabula (@incunabula) September 3, 2018

Its collections include a meteorite found in 1784 and “Luzia,” a 12,000-year-old skeleton, both of which has been lost in the fire.

It’s unclear how the fire started, and Michel Temer, the country’s president, tweeted:

Today is a tragic day for the museology of our country. Two hundred years of work research and knowledge were lost.

Incalculável para o Brasil a perda do acervo do Museu Nacional. Foram perdidos 200 anos de trabalho, pesquisa e conhecimento. O valor p/ nossa história não se pode mensurar, pelos danos ao prédio que abrigou a família real durante o Império. É um dia triste para todos brasileiros

— Michel Temer (@MichelTemer) September 3, 2018

There have been no reports of injuries or deaths as the fire occurred while the museum was closed.

See a clip of the fire incident:

Brazil’s National Museum. My brother sent me this 😞 pic.twitter.com/UKjlby5p7y

— Rachel Silva (@Rebechell) September 3, 2018

Photo Credit: Buda Mendes/Getty Images

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