University of São Paulo: On the Bicentennial of Independence, the Ipiranga Museum reopens, valuing the history

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After nine years closed, the Ipiranga Museum finally reopens its doors this Tuesday (6th) in an event for authorities. Since 2013, the museum has been undergoing restoration and renovation in order to provide greater accessibility to visitors, who will be able to return to the museum on Thursday (8).

The reopening was planned for the Bicentennial of Independence, celebrated tomorrow (7). As part of the celebrations, the Ipiranga Museum will receive students from public schools and workers who, in the last nine years, have made the ambitious project of modernization and restoration of the monument-building and its entire collection a reality.

For the next two months, admission will be free and subject to prior appointment through the website www.museudoipiranga.org.br . Tickets are currently sold out and the museum is operating at reduced capacity, a scenario that will change by the end of the year.

The museum
Part of the University of São Paulo since 1963, the Ipiranga Museum was thought of during the Empire, and was built only in the Republic. The monument-building is located in the Parque da Independência complex and, together with the Museu Republicano Convento de Itu, constitutes the Museu Paulista at USP, the managing body of these two institutions.

Rosaria Ono, current director of the museum, explains that, in addition to the architectural project, there is the museographic project. “We have a faculty of five professors (…) who form the curatorial team. The curators prepared the exhibitions based on the research involved by the Museu Paulista (…) which gave rise to the 12 exhibitions that were planned precisely by the museum’s professors”, explains the director.

The oldest museum in São Paulo has a collection of more than 450,000 pieces, including works of art and everyday items, dating from the 17th to 20th centuries. Based on the curatorial project, the collection was divided into two permanent exhibitions. : To Understand Brazil and To Understand the Museum.

To Understand Brazil has six axes: a history of Brazil, imaginary pasts, disputed territories, worlds of work, houses and things, the city seen from above. To Understand the Museum , on the other hand , is separated by the four stages of curatorship: to understand the museum; collect: images and objects; catalog: coins and medals; conserve: toys; and communicate: crockery.


The 11 permanent exhibitions last from three to five years and, in addition to these, a temporary exhibition opens in November especially focused on the Bicentennial of Independence: “We will have a temporary exhibition that will open in November exactly about Independence and that it was not possible to open this year moment because of the small delay in the works”, completes Rosaria. The duration is four months.

The two-step reform
The project of the New Museum of Ipiranga, according to the director, had two stages: the first, which included the diagnosis, removal of the collection for the technical reserve and planning, lasted from 2013 to 2018, when the project was detailed. The second, starting in 2019, included the process of raising costs and raising funds, in addition to the beginning of the works. “Despite all the difficulties, we had to overcome many obstacles to arrive now with the delivery of this museum, which will take place this week”, remembers Rosaria.

Even with the increase in the price of construction materials due to the pandemic of the new coronavirus, the project managed to get off the ground. In addition to the restoration of the collection and modernization of the monument, the museum now has a new exhibition area, built in the basement of the front of the building: “In fact, it respected the whole issue of our historical heritage, which is the building itself, and respected the urban landscape of the place where it is installed, which is also listed as a heritage site”, explains the director.

With the renovation, the museum now has an area of ​​13,400 square meters – double the previous one –, more than 40 exhibition wings, a new viewpoint with a 360° view of the city of São Paulo and an auditorium that can hold 200 people.

Another innovative aspect of the Novo Museu do Ipiranga is accessibility and inclusion, two parameters adopted at the beginning of the project: “More than 300 accessibility resources and material resources that were introduced, libra resources, Braille, a series of forms of communication for ensure greater accessibility with the inclusion of people with disabilities and for greater access”.

In partnership with the Fundação de Apoio à Universidade de São Paulo (Fusp), the entire process relied on the state and federal task force, with R$ 235 million raised from the Culture Incentive Law and the support of several private companies .

Critically rethinking history
Unlike other administrations and old curatorial projects, the temporary exhibitions and the permanent collection were rethought and planned in order to tell the story not from historical figures, but in a critical way. Through historical pieces, one of the goals of the Novo Museu do Ipiranga is to give visibility to a greater portion of the Brazilian population, in addition to making it clear that there is not just one version of history.

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