Take a Virtual Tour of Brazil’s National Museum & Its Artifacts: Google Digitized the Museum’s Collection Before the Fateful Fire

How to describe the mag­ni­tude of the loss when Brazil’s Museu Nacional caught fire in Sep­tem­ber? The New York­er’s Ale­jan­dro Cha­coff ven­tured an anal­o­gy that would res­onate with read­ers of that mag­a­zine: “It’s as if, in New York, the Amer­i­can Muse­um of Nat­ur­al His­to­ry and the New School, or a part of the Colum­bia cam­pus, had been built on the same spot, and then was reduced to ash­es.” The 200-year-old muse­um lost an esti­mat­ed 92.5 per­cent of its 20-mil­lion-item archive, one of the largest col­lec­tions of nat­ur­al his­to­ry and anthro­po­log­i­cal arti­facts in the world — but not before Google Arts & Cul­ture dig­i­tized enough to recre­ate the expe­ri­ence of vis­it­ing the Museu Nacional vir­tu­al­ly.

Start­ing back in 2016, Google Arts & Cul­ture had begun work­ing with the muse­um to bring their col­lec­tion online — so that any­one, any­where in the world could see and learn about these ancient arti­facts,” writes Google Arts & Cul­ture Pro­gram Man­ag­er Chance Coughenour.

“Now for the first time ever, you can vir­tu­al­ly step inside the muse­um and learn about its lost col­lec­tion through Street View imagery and online exhibits.” In this way you can still expe­ri­ence a por­tion of “the incred­i­ble diver­si­ty of arti­facts in Brazil’s Nation­al Muse­um” that “reflect­ed cen­turies of Brazil’s cul­ture and nat­ur­al his­to­ry, from the Amazon’s endan­gered but­ter­flies to beau­ti­ful­ly-craft­ed indige­nous masks and dec­o­rat­ed pot­tery.”

You can take a vir­tu­al tour of the high­lights of the Museu Nacional as it was here, a tour that of course includes a vis­it with the muse­um’s prized pos­ses­sion: the 12,000-year old Luzia, the old­est skele­ton found in the Amer­i­c­as, whom you can see just as she stood on dis­play in muse­um view. Mirac­u­lous­ly, Luzia counts as one of the arti­facts most­ly recov­ered from the after­math of the con­fla­gra­tion, and the muse­um has announced an ambi­tious restora­tion plan that will cost R$10 mil­lion, an amount pro­vid­ed as emer­gency funds by the Brazil­ian Gov­ern­ment — and an amount much greater than the Museu Nacional, which by its 200th anniver­sary had reached a state of not just seri­ous neglect but near-com­plete aban­don­ment, was ever able to get while still intact. Even in the case of vast repos­i­to­ries of a nation’s cul­tur­al her­itage, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.

via Art­sy

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Wikipedia Leads Effort to Cre­ate a Dig­i­tal Archive of 20 Mil­lion Arti­facts Lost in the Brazil­ian Muse­um Fire

1.8 Mil­lion Free Works of Art from World-Class Muse­ums: A Meta List of Great Art Avail­able Online

25 Mil­lion Images From 14 Art Insti­tu­tions to Be Dig­i­tized & Put Online In One Huge Schol­ar­ly Archive

Google Lets You Take a 360-Degree Panoram­ic Tour of Street Art in Cities Across the World

Take a Vir­tu­al Real­i­ty Tour of the World’s Stolen Art

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

by | Permalink | Comments (0) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.