Working group CARBICA “CHEN”
statement on
the devastation at Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Brazil

The CHEN- working group installed by CARBICA in August expresses great shock and alarm at the loss of the 200-year-old Museo Nacional in Brazil. The Museum was the repository of approximately 20 million pieces of objects and artefacts dating back to more than 11,000 years and was regarded worldwide as Brazil’s oldest and most prominent research centre.

CHEN, the Caribbean Heritage Emergency Network, an arm of the Caribbean Regional Branch of the International Council on Archives (CARBICA) was formed in August 2018 as a direct response to the cultural heritage needs of Caribbean territories affected by the passage of hurricanes during the 2017 season, but also in response to the need for a body to respond to the needs of heritage institutions in times of natural and man-made disasters. Its Charter states that the cocollaborative network of stakeholders and service providers who constitute CHEN are committed to strengthening the Caribbean’s cultural heritage community, before, during and after disasters, through an organized communication system, as well as coordinated activities and services in the field. The main goals are to respond in times of crises to the heritage preservation needs of Caribbean territories and encourage training and support for stakeholder institutions for the most critical periods of need.

The damage and irreparable loss to the Museo Nacional represent the unfortunate and unpredictable dangers poised to heritage institutions which CHEN is committed to safeguard against and to mitigate. CHEN wishes to extend its support to the Government and People of Brazil at this time, the Museum Director Alexander Kellner and staff and will seek dialogue to ensure how best the network can assist in the post fire/ recovery stage.