Brazilian government appeals to firms and donors to rebuild ruined museum

5 Sep 18

The government of Brazil is seeking funding from companies, banks and international donors to help rebuild the National Museum, which was gutted by fire on Sunday.

The fire destroyed almost 90% of the collection at the museum, according to officials. Staff have suggested years of funding cuts and lack of investment in the building could be partly responsible.

On Monday, president Michel Temer held talks with banks and companies with the aim to find a way to reconstruct the museum.

Education minister Rossieli Soares has also said the Brazilian government was looking for international help and has begun talks with the United Nation’s cultural body Unesco.

Outside the ruined museum, Soares added that the federal government had set aside an initial $3.6m to rebuild the 200-year-old structure and restore its collection, media reported.

It is still unclear exactly what caused the fire, but an investigation has been launched and culture minister Sergio Leitao told local newspaper Estado de S. Paulo that the most likely causes were an electrical fault or a homemade paper hot-air balloon landing on the roof.

Luiz Duarte, the museum’s vice director, told Brazil’s Globo TV network that the museum had suffered years of neglect under numerous governments.

“We recently finalised an agreement with [state-run development bank] BNDES for a massive investment, so that we could finally restore the palace and, ironically, we had planned on a new fire prevention system,” he said.

The development bank said in June that it had agreed financing of 21.7m reais ($5.3m) to “physically restore the historic building” and to carry out work to “guarantee more security to its collections”.

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