The Historical Museum of the City of Rio de Janeiro/MHCRJ was created as a result of the nineteenth century museums expansion and its origins are connected to the beginning of the Republic in Brazil and to the Rio de Janeiro’s political center role represented in this context.
Since 1891, the authorities of the newly installed government showed concern in collecting significant objects which would interest the city history. However, its creation only happens in Mayor Pedro Ernesto's administration, by the Decree No. 4989 of July 11, 1934.
The MHCRJ has always shown a tendency to remain within the limits of its object – the city of Rio de Janeiro. However, its vast documental, archival, and museological collection, with about 24,000 pieces – which means an important record of the city of Rio de Janeiro and covers different categories – denotes national character. In this collection there are also works of artists like Visconti, Thomas Ender, Antonio Parreiras, Armando Vianna, Augusto Malta, and Marc Ferrez, as well as the collections of mayors Pereira Passos, Pedro Ernesto, Carlos Sampaio, and César Maia.
When we think about a city museum apart from the cultural aspect, comes to mind the matter of the city where it is inserted – the urban space, the remembrance and importance of the museum to the city, being the only one that aims to preserve and conserve memory of the city that was the capital of the colony, empire and republic, through its collection and primarily be a point of reference and discussion of cultural, social, economic and urban city of Rio de Janeiro throughout its history.
The MHCRJ, through an art and documentary collection accessible to all, is a museum where our history and our urban identity can be analyzed and explained.
Luciana Mota Gaspar
Rio de Janeiro City Historical Museum Manager
Heloisa Helena Queiroz
Museums manager / Rio de Janeiro Municipal Secretariat of Culture