The Connectenedness of Archives: Museums in Brazil and Europe


  • Manuela Fischer Ethnologisches Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz
  • Adriana Muñoz Världskulturmuseet (The Museum of World Culture), Göteborg


Palabras clave:

intercambio científico, archios, museos europeos, Museu Nacional, Rio de Janeiro, Museum für Völkerkunde, Berlin, Göteborg Museum, colecciones iniciales de Amazonia


The destruction of the collections at the Museu Nacional in Rio de Janeiro, which had hosted indigenous material culture gathered over two centuries, spotlighted the importance of early Amazonian collections in European museums. The circulation of objects and knowledge in the 19th and the early 20th century is part of a history of interactions within global systems. Epistemological, political, social and economic aspects shaped the collections, following shifting interests related to scientific endeavors, colonization or extractivism, just to name the more common ones. The agents involved in the collecting in the South American Lowlands were scholars from different disciplines, settlers, politicians and traders linked by global interests. The close relationship of the then Museum für Völkerkunde in Berlin and the Göteborgs Museum in Gothenburg with the Museu Nacional and other Brazilian institutions since the 1880s is striking, as they mutually engaged in the exchange of objects for major exhibitions and enriched the scientific exchange of knowledge, by sending and interchanging collections. Today, these objects stored in Berlin as well as in Gothenburg, could be incorporated into the reconstruction of the Museu Nacional, or directly could be put in dialogue with communities in the 21st century. These collections were gathered with many purposes; however, from the beginning in Berlin with Adolf Bastian, and in Gothenburg with Erland Nordenskiöld, the idea of an archive for the future was a primal one. The question remains, how to handle this ‘universal archive’ at risk?