Sep 3, 2018

Brazil's National Museum gutted by fire — it held 20 million items

Fire at the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Fire at the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday. Photo: Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Brazil’s National Museum, which has some of the oldest human remains ever found in the Americas, was consumed by fire Sunday night.

Why it matters: The 200-year-old institution, located in Rio de Janeiro, has about 20 million items, including Egyptian mummies, dinosaur fossils and the oldest human fossil in the region. It also has exhibitions in biological anthropology, archeology, ethnology, geology, paleontology and zoology, according to its website.

The details: The cause of the fire is still unknown and it's unclear how many — if any — historical artifacts have been saved, The Guardian reports. There were no reports of injuries, and aerial video show fire spreading throughout the building.

  • Brazil's President Michel Temer tweeted: “200 years of work, research and knowledge have been lost. The value of our history cannot be measured by the damage to the building that housed the royal family during the empire. It's a sad day for all Brazilians.”
Go deeper