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Joint seminar with Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, University College London and King’s College London

What fire cannot destroy: memories, networks and projects

Prof João Pacheco de Oliveira Filho, Head of Ethnography at the National Museum of Brazil

Tuesday 16 October at 6.30 pm

at the Archaeology Lecture Theatre, UCL

The talk will present a brief history of the National Museum from its foundation to the present day. Special focus will be given to the formation of the ethnographic collection, its ongoing projects and the challenges for the establishment of a new model of curation.
The ‘Royal Museum’, as it was originally called, was created in 1818 alongside other key cultural institutions in Brazil (such as the Public Library and Archives, the Royal Academy of Arts, the Botanical Gardens and the National Observatory). The creation of such institutions was an attempt by the Portuguese crown to establish in Rio de Janeiro the cultural conditions for the remote functioning of its colonial empire, as the court fled to Brazil when its capital Lisbon was taken over by Napoleon’s armies.
After the Independence of Brazil (1822), and especially during the long Second Reign (1840-1889), the museum turned its focus to the research of the diversity of the traditions that compose the Brazilian national identity, bringing together collections of ethnology, archaeology, physical anthropology and the natural sciences. During this period, the museum maintained close links with other research institutes, such as the Brazilian Historical and Geographical Institute (IHGB) and the Academy of Arts, and organised a Great National Exhibition (1882).
With the advent of the Republic, the National Museum was transferred to the old imperial palace, consolidating itself as a research institute that preceded the emergence of Brazilian universities. The researchers at the National Museum were closely involved in the development of indigenous policies in Brazil (Commission Rondon). The institution hosted many foreign researchers and also carried out major scientific expeditions, such as that of Roquette-Pinto (1912-13), among others.
From 1968 onwards, the first postgraduate programme in Social Anthropology (PPGAS) was implemented, having trained 495 masters and 340 doctors as well as keeping a specialized anthropology library with 37,000 volumes. The ethnological collections amount to 43,000 items and the Department of Anthropology has maintained an active research programme of collaborations with indigenous communities and their museums, as well as with Afro-Brazilian associations and community centres, in the development of memory production activities, training of native researchers and multiple partnerships that extend throughout Brazil.

This event is free, but tickets must be booked. To book tickets please go to https://pachecodeoliveirafilho.eventbrite.co.uk

Location : Archaeology Lecture Theatre
University College London
31–34 Gordon Square
London WC1H 0PY
United Kingdom