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National Historical Museum

A fascinating repository of artifacts, including royal carriages, weapons and a vast collection of coins, provide insights into the history of Brazil.


Journey through hundreds of years of Brazil’s past at Rio de Janeiro’s National Historical Museum (Museu Histórico Nacional). More than 300,000 artifacts detailing the country’s story are housed here, including vintage cars, religious art, weapons and one of the largest numismatic collections in the world.

The museum occupies the site of a fort complex built in 1567 and hosts both permanent and temporary exhibitions spread across two floors. There is a lot to take in and discover.

At the Colonization and Dependence gallery learn about the nation’s economic development via the growth of coffee, mining and sugarcane industries. See equipment used on coffee plantations and view objects related to the mining and molding of metals.

Visit the life-size replica of a 19th-century pharmacy. It features period furnishings and scales, bowls, cutters and other equipment involved in the making, measuring and dispensing of medicine.

Browse the collection of carriages, including the light carriage used by Emperor D. Pedro II, who ruled Brazil for more than half a century. At the Patio of Canons, find a number of Brazilian, Portuguese, English, French and Dutch canons. Look over the 1908 PROTOS automobile that belonged to Brazilian diplomat, José Paranhos, the Baron of Rio Branco.

Go to the exhibition of sacred art for its shrines, sculptures and paintings. There is more art on display in the Canada Gallery. Among the works are pictures ordered by the government to record historical events. They include the Consecration of D. Pedro II, by Manuel de Araujo Porto Alegre.

Peruse the museum’s numismatic collection. With more than 127,000 items, it lays claim to being the largest of its kind in Latin America. Admire coins from ancient Greece and Rome, colonial-era medals and stamps from the 12th to 16th centuries.

Situated in Rio de Janeiro’s Centro district, the National Historical Museum is easy to reach via public transport. Two metro stations are a short walk away. The museum is open every day except Mondays and there is an admission fee.


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Lodging Near National History Museum

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Hotel Atlântico Prime $35
Reviewed on May 3, 2019
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Hotel Atlântico Prime

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    Novotel RJ Santos Dumont

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      ibis Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont $35
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      ibis Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont

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          Hotel Atlantico Business Centro

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              Windsor Florida Hotel $61
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              Windsor Florida Hotel

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                Windsor Guanabara Hotel $69
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                Windsor Guanabara Hotel

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