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Best Museums in Rio de Janeiro

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Museu de Arte do Rio (MAR)

This 2013 addition to the city's cultural landscape has a futuristic look that will surely dazzle you. Museu de Arte do Rio (MAR) comprises of two buildings that belong to different eras. The first one is the 1916 Dom João VI Mansion, an eclectic, heritage structure and the other one was a former bus terminal which was revamped to its current modern look. These are connected by a crest-like canopy which is sustained by white pillars. The museum's exhibition halls are located in the mansion and displays artworks between 1920 to 1980. There are also educational visits for students and other organizations. A visit here will definitely be an eye opener as it shows the different shades of Rio.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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Museu Nacional de Belas Artes

Built in 1908, inspired by the Louvre, it is the main fine arts museum in Rio. The Brazilian collection is organized in chronological order in the main gallery, and shows the evolution of fine arts in Brazil from the 19th Century to this date. Famous names such as Candido Portinari, Taunay, Pedro Américo and Victor Meirelles are represented here through some of their most significant works. In the other galleries, the work of contemporary and foreign artists is exhibited, along with an interesting set of sculptures and samples of African art.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro

The magnificent Parque do Flamengo is a modern and exquisite building in concrete and glass that houses The Museum of Modern Art, the main center for modern art in Rio. The permanent collection now has more than 4000 pieces by Brazilian artists, including the Gilberto Chateaubriant collection, one of the most significant Brazilian art collection in the country. There are various temporary exhibits of well-known artists from other countries as well, plus an art cinema and a restaurant. Guided tours are in English and Spanish, phone to reserve. All printed matter and painting information is also in English.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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Museu Histórico Nacional

Built in 1762 as an arsenal, the Museu Histórico Nacional was also a military prison until 1922, when it was converted into an exhibition center for the celebration of 100th anniversary of the independence from Portugal. Here you will find objects and models that retrace the history of Brazil since its discovery, with special attention to the slavery period and the sugar cane industry.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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Museu da República

Located in Catete and finished in 1866, this museum is housed in the palace that was home to Brazilian presidents from 1896 to 1954. Restored to its original grandeur with stained-glass windows and marble floors, the collection contains artwork, furniture and memorabilia from the Republic years. There is also an art gallery, a multimedia area, a theater and a great restaurant set in an enclosed terrace that overlooks the gardens. The permanent exhibition includes an audio tour in English and Spanish.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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Museu Carmen Miranda

Carmen Miranda lovers unite! This small kitsch museum is located at the very southern tip of the Parque do Flamengo. Highlights include memorabilia from the famed singer's life and career. The infamous fruity headdresses are among the singer's paraphernalia and exquisite costumes that are on exhibit. Posters, postcards, T-shirts, and music are on sale as well.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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Museu do Índio

Some visitors to Rio are not aware that it was once inhabited by Native Indians. This museum, housed in an old colonial building, is a good place to learn a little about Rio's original inhabitants. Opened on April 19, 1953, in honor of the Day of the Native, the collection contains displays of cooking utensils, tools, musical instruments, costumes and religious artifacts. Photographs and displays of native housing round out this collection. The museum has a store named Artíndia which offers crafts items for sale.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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Forte de Copacabana

Fort Copacabana was built in 1914 to defend Guanabara bay, and now offers many attractions for its visitors. The fort houses Museu Histórico do Exército, a good source of information on Brazil's military history. Outside of the fort you'll get a lovely view of Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, which are the two most famous beaches in Rio de Janeiro.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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