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Help rebuilding the palaeontology collections of Brazil’s National Museum

Article from: Newsletter No. 99
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As you may know, the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro was consumed almost entirely by fire on 3rd September 2018.  The destroyed building included exhibit rooms and offices as well as palaeobotany, invertebrate palaeontology and vertebrate palaeontology collections that held a number of holotypes.  The current director of the Museum, Dr Alexander Kellner, has been working hard to secure funding from the Brazilian government for a new building.

In order to make his case as strong as possible, Dr Kellner has requested help from fellow palaeontology colleagues and institutions.  Notably, the National Museum is in desperate need of: (1) photographs and replicas of its own specimens that perished; and (2) donations of any number of replicas and fossils, including comparative specimens, from other institutions or individuals.  Because the Museum’s 3D printers luckily survived, 3D digital data (copyright permitting) can also be sent to the Museum.  Individuals and institutions can help the National Museum by sending formal letters stating that they will make such donations.

National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro after the fire

At this point, it is not necessary to state the exact number of replicas and/or specimens to be donated, but simply the intent to make such donations.  What is needed (and time-sensitive) are letters that demonstrate an international effort to help the National Museum to rebuild its palaeontology collections, which in turn can further justify the need for a place where replicas and specimens can be properly stored, curated, and open to visitation.  Letters should be addressed to Dr Alexander Kellner (Museum Director) and sent via e-mail to <>.  It would be most effective if the letters can be sent to Dr Kellner by 30th November 2018, although the Museum will continue to welcome donation intent letters past that date.

Author Information

Emily Rayfield - University of Bristol

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