Testimonies

Magaly Cabral, Republic Museum director

The Historical Museum of the City of Rio de Janeiro has been part of my life since I was a classroom teacher way back in municipal schools primary education of the city. My relationship with museums comes from that time and the City Museum was part of this relationship. Perhaps because long before I studied museology and work in the museums field, I have always thought that a City Museum is very important. What is interesting is that after working in the field, visiting city museums in different capitals it was and still is of great interest to me.

And that's why I really hope that the city of Rio de Janeiro will have back its City Museum. A museum where the city resident as well as the tourist will meet with the city, knowing it and recognizing themselves.

 

Paulo Knauss, Director of the  National Historic Museum, Professor at Fluminense Federal University

The City Historical Museum and its park are reminiscent of a certain time and way of life of Rio de Janeiro. But I first met the place as a boy who liked to watch the neighbor's TV show called "Time Tunnel". Upon entering the mansion and seeing the antique pieces on display, I felt like a true History traveler, just like the characters from the show. But the TV image of that time was in black and white, and at the museum, my trip was in colors.

Later, I worked as an intern in the Museum research sector. I finally met the backstage of the institution and still remember me admiring the collection of painting screens sustained in gradients. I found that the museum's technical backlog there was much more than what it was on display. There, I was sure I met my professional destiny, but what I really liked was to feel that woodland smell mixed with the flavor of the historical collection and to admire what surrounded me. 

 

Vera Dias, Seconserva’s Monuments and Fountains manager

My first visit to the City Park was in 1960, with a school tour that was when the beauty of the park enchanted me. In the 1990s, I returned to the park as a City Hall employee, and this time, with the City Museum exhibiting a collection of documents and its historical parts, it drove me to study Rio's heritage.

I have experienced over the years various activities in the park such as family picnicking on weekends, the survey and opening of the old trails, the environmental education workshops, restorations of historic buildings, and the implementation of the City's Municipal Natural Park Council.

The historical, cultural, and environmental value of the park stands due to its identity and memory, recognized in 2012 in the City space set as World Heritage and Urban Cultural Landscape, creating thereafter a new vision and expectation for its preservation.

 

Mr. Joaquim Bocaiuva, City Museum Friends Association

The City Historical Museum means a lot to me. I have lived in Gávea for 50 years. That area where the museum is located has always been a place of leisure, a place to take children to play. There is a wonderful view of the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon and the Gávea Rock. A long time ago, the museum had cultural programming for all ages: from music to theater, there was a breakfast baskets programming and it even provided contact with the community. The project for public schools received more than 300 children a year.

The museum has a wonderful collection; the history of the city is there. There is the Portuguese royal family banner, the cast of Christ the Redeemer statue head, the mayors' collection.

City museums are very important. When you go to any country, the main attraction of an urban center is its City Museum. For all this, I decided to take part the Museum Friends Association, by the year 2000.

 

Luiz Carlos Mendes, vice president of the Vila Parque da Cidade Association of Residents

I have lived at Vila Parque da Cidade since I was born, 67 years ago. The park is like the backyard of my house. My best memories are of my childhood days, when me and my friends went there to steal fruit and to bathe in the river. Of the museum I remember that I liked to go there just to put on those funny shoes [scuff slippers used for floor protection in some historic buildings].

There were movie recording, magazine taking pictures of the place – bridal magazine, you know!? The lake was still pretty clean by then, those who are old school miss it! Also there were free shows in the park: the Symphonic Orchestra – for what they called Aquarius Project – there was instrumental music show, even Sivuca, the musician, came to play there. The location was also safer – underage people could not enter the park alone, for example. Then they had to empty the lake afraid of children drowning inside.

 

Valdir Cavalcante de Oliveira, president of the Vila Parque da Cidade Association of Residents

I have lived at Vila Parque da Cidade for about 50 years and always attended the museum and the park. I remember a lot of the Rangers, who blew whistles to get people out of the park at closing time and also to alert the children, who sneaked in it unaccompanied through the bush. In my childhood, the museum took the children of Vila Parque and did many activities with us there. Once they put us to draw the museum objects. I drew Dona Maria Leopoldina's bed, I loved that bed! Also I liked the swords and armor. Another good memory is that they always had some kind of presentation in front of the museum: theater, concert... It was very good, it got really crowded there.

They say the mansion was a slave quarters, right!? If you walk all the way up there, on the left side you will see that there were some riveted links in a construction, they say that they use to bind slaves there.

There had been some wedding in the chapel, but there was no Mass, because the chapel was excommunicated by the bishop at the time [in the 70's], because of its painting – there was a Pelé painted in it.

 

Sr. Arnaldo Guinle, nephew of the old property owner, Guilherme Guinle.

What I know about  the local history is from the family stories and the time I lived in a building near by the park between the 80's and the 90's. When my uncle [Guilherme Guinle] bought the property he held the palace restoration and made several improvements because the place was in disrepair. In my time, there was the chapel, the big house, the house of the employees and the orchid house that my uncle built because he was an orchids collector. The entire structure came from Portugal. Unfortunately, I do not know what happened to it because it doesn't exist anymore today.

The chapel held some marriages; it was only for family use. As for the park, I know that my uncle wanted to reconstitute it as it had been at the time of the Marques de São Vicente, but he could not find anyone who could do this work. I only visit the park when I moved closer, around 1986 [when the property had been sold to the City]. At this time I would always walk, take the kids to play. There were a lot of people going there on weekends.

 

Claudio Tavare, former MHC employee

I worked in the museum's cleaning sector for about seven years, and I have been a resident of Vila Parque da Cidade for over 40. What I feel for the museum is love and affection.

The museum has a very beautiful and historical collection, it tells Brazil's Colony and imperial History, it tells about D. Pedro. And the park has always been the village residents' recreational area.

Since my childhood, I used to go to play in the park on weekends and to eat fruit from the trees. I have very good memories.

 

Leandro Urso Santos, environmental educator, C4/Rocinha Slum's Library Park/ Superintendency of Reading and Knowledge

I have been 30 years dwelling in Vila Parque da Cidade. I found culture and art still in childhood thanks to exhibitions of the City Historical Museum. I think the culture and nature of the place influenced my career choice: I am now completing 10 years of work with Environmental Education and guided tours at the Municipal Natural City Park and the Rocinha Slum's Library Park. I am part of Sankof's Memory and History Museum, where I work as an educator and storyteller in schools and institutions.