Fire devastates museum in Brazil

Guardian graphic. Image: Google Earth. Source: Museu Nacional

A fire has completely destroyed the 200-year old National Museum in Rio de Janeiro. Once the home of Brazil’s monarch, the palace became the largest history museum in Latin America. Its collections included art and artifacts of indigenous peoples, as well as Egyptian and Greco-Roman works, fossils, and so much more.

Disaster: Earthquake Territory!

There are so many churches in Italy. And in Italy churches can be museums…not only because they have amazing works of art, but because they have been turned into museums. The new cathedral in Ravello was built in the 15th c. next to a church that dates back to the 11th c. That 11th-c. church is now a museum with church furnishings that date back to the 11th, 12th, and 13th. cs. But this is earthquake territory. How does the museum address this potential disaster?


You can see brass supports on this 13th.-c. eagle, a symbol of St. John the Evangelist that was once part of a pulpit. These supports work to stabilize the object. They allow for some movement, but the sculpture will likely not be thrown to the ground and smashed.


Mosaic reliefs are also supported this way.

Here is a view of the original church as it appears today…as a museum.

How do museums plan for disaster? Fire? Flood? Earthquake? American museums are faced with all three potential and real disasters. What have you observed?