National Museum Indigenous Collection now has virtual exhibition

“The First Brazilians” collection was not reached by the fire. It presents memories of the building of Brazil, Indigenous cultural artefacts, narratives and contemporary statements. The launching of the virtual exhibition is on 13 April 2021.

Historical panels, music, films and photographs recording the diversity and narratives of Indigenous peoples make up the Os Primeiros Brasileiros (The First Brazilians) exhibition. The Anthropologist João Pacheco de Oliveira from the National Museum/Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), in close partnership with the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples and Organizations in the Northeast, Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo (APOINME), has conceived this show. More than 250 thousand people have already appreciated it, and now it gets a virtual edition.

In 2018, when the fire broke out at the National Museum (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), the collection was at the Indigenous Peoples Memorial in Brasilia. The last physical version of this exhibition was at the National Archives (RJ) in 2019. In March 2020, it had to be closed to the public to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Encouraged by the Museu Nacional Vive Project – technical cooperation between UFRJ, UNESCO and Vale Cultural Institute –, the idea of this virtual edition has shown up amid the efforts to rebuild the Museum. This initiative invites the whole society to have a reactivate contact with this notable collection.

Awakening new emotions and perspectives about the Indigenous peoples, the exhibition proposes an immersion in images, texts and soundtracks presented in four moments: the first encounter, the trap of colonization, the indigenous world and contemporary citizenship forms.

About 180 historical and contemporary images, 12 soundtracks and 05 films make up the environments. Photographs and descriptions of artefacts that were not reached by the fire, such as a Tupinambá mantle, ritual masks, traps, musical objects and armaments, illustrate the collection’s richness. One of the distinguishing aspects of this virtual exhibition is the most significant space dedicated to narratives and indigenous representations of our time, whether through video testimonials or photo galleries of different peoples. Another highlight is that this exhibition offers a teaching guide with theoretical references and suggestions for practical activities that can be developed in physical or digital classrooms.

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