UFMG fire
Building that was hit by the fire at the UFMG Museum. Photo: Fire Department.

UA fire at the UFMG Museum of Natural History and Botanical Garden hit one of the most important parts of the institution's collection, according to the director pro tempore Mariana de Oliveira Lacerda. According to the Fire Department, the flames started in the early hours of the morning and the cause has not yet been identified. Lacerda, however, informed the press that the building affected has monitoring, smoke detection and had the wiring changed in 2013.

The affected section housed three rooms of the technical reserve, which receives the museum's works not currently on display and is mainly intended for academic purposes and research projects. education developed by University graduate e postgraduate from UFMG. Among the collections kept in the affected building are those of paleontology, archeology, biology, some zoology and entomology (study of insects) collections. 

To the newspaper O Estado de Minas, the director stated that “now is the time to roll up our sleeves and do what needs to be done, to better understand the situation. The museum has all the necessary measures to address this problem. All researchers and scientists are already involved and committed to the next step, which will be to recover and understand what damage was caused”.

UFMG fire
The museum was hit by the flames in the early hours of the morning. Photo: Fire Department.

With an area of ​​600 square meters in Bairro Horto, in the eastern region of Belo Horizonte, the museum was installed in 1969, after the area belonging to a farm was expropriated at the beginning of the century and later acquired by the state government. Among the 265 items that make up the institution's collection is the Nativity Scene of Pipiripau, a work by artisan Raimundo Machado that is listed by the National Historical and Artistic Heritage Institute (Iphan). The crib is composed of 586 moving parts, distributed in 45 scenes that tell, through the daily life of a city, the life of Jesus Christ. As it was on display, the work was not in the collection and was not affected.

Shortly after the incident, the Brazilian Institute of Museums (Ibram) contacted the Coordinator of the UFMG Science and Culture Museums and Spaces Network, Letícia Julião, and sent the damage mitigation protocol, developed at the time of the fire at the National Museum of Rio (UFRJ) for immediate action.

For the use of a task force to act in the rescue of the affected goods, Ibram also made available information from its volunteer registration database. In a public note, the institute also demanded a quick identification of the causes of the fire so that the problems can be dealt with efficiently, giving effectiveness to the protection of cultural heritage.

Learn more about volunteer registration here.


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