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National Historical Museum

A fascinating repository of artifacts, including royal carriages, weapons and a vast collection of coins, provide insights into the history of Brazil.


Journey through hundreds of years of Brazil’s past at Rio de Janeiro’s National Historical Museum (Museu Histórico Nacional). More than 300,000 artifacts detailing the country’s story are housed here, including vintage cars, religious art, weapons and one of the largest numismatic collections in the world.

The museum occupies the site of a fort complex built in 1567 and hosts both permanent and temporary exhibitions spread across two floors. There is a lot to take in and discover.

At the Colonization and Dependence gallery learn about the nation’s economic development via the growth of coffee, mining and sugarcane industries. See equipment used on coffee plantations and view objects related to the mining and molding of metals.

Visit the life-size replica of a 19th-century pharmacy. It features period furnishings and scales, bowls, cutters and other equipment involved in the making, measuring and dispensing of medicine.

Browse the collection of carriages, including the light carriage used by Emperor D. Pedro II, who ruled Brazil for more than half a century. At the Patio of Canons, find a number of Brazilian, Portuguese, English, French and Dutch canons. Look over the 1908 PROTOS automobile that belonged to Brazilian diplomat, José Paranhos, the Baron of Rio Branco.

Go to the exhibition of sacred art for its shrines, sculptures and paintings. There is more art on display in the Canada Gallery. Among the works are pictures ordered by the government to record historical events. They include the Consecration of D. Pedro II, by Manuel de Araujo Porto Alegre.

Peruse the museum’s numismatic collection. With more than 127,000 items, it lays claim to being the largest of its kind in Latin America. Admire coins from ancient Greece and Rome, colonial-era medals and stamps from the 12th to 16th centuries.

Situated in Rio de Janeiro’s Centro district, the National Historical Museum is easy to reach via public transport. Two metro stations are a short walk away. The museum is open every day except Mondays and there is an admission fee.


Guide to Exploring around National History Museum


Best Lodging Options Near National History Museum

See all 2,504 Properties near National History Museum
Hotel Atlântico Prime ¥1,745
Hotel Atlântico Prime

Hotel Atlântico Prime

Rua do Resende 87, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Lapa, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Arcos da Lapa and Catedral de Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro. Consulate General of the United States Rio de Janeiro and Municipal Theater are also within 1 mi (2 km). Cinelandia Station is 16 minutes by foot and Presidente Vargas Station is 16 minutes.

    Américas Granada Hotel ¥2,522
    Américas Granada Hotel

    Américas Granada Hotel

    Avenida Gomes Freire, 530 - Centro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
       
      3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Lapa, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Arcos da Lapa, Consulate General of the United States Rio de Janeiro, and Sambodrome. Flamengo Beach and Museum of Tomorrow are also within 2 mi (3 km). Carioca Station is 13 minutes by foot and Presidente Vargas Station is 13 minutes.

      Hotel Atlantico Business Centro ¥1,744
      Hotel Atlantico Business Centro

      Hotel Atlantico Business Centro

      Rua Senador Dantas, 25, Centro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
         
        3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Centro, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Guanabara Bay and Consulate General of the United States Rio de Janeiro. Flamengo Beach and Museum of Tomorrow are also within 2 mi (3 km). Cinelandia Station is only a 4-minute walk and Carioca Station is 7 minutes.

        Novotel RJ Santos Dumont ¥4,273
        Novotel RJ Santos Dumont

        Novotel RJ Santos Dumont

        Avenida Rua Marechal Camara 300, Centro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          This family-friendly Rio de Janeiro hotel is located near the airport, within a 15-minute walk of National Library (Biblioteca Nacional) and Museum of Modern Art. Arcos da Lapa and Selaron Steps are also within 1 mi (2 km). Cinelandia Station is 10 minutes by foot and Carioca Station is 13 minutes.

          ibis Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont ¥3,109
          ibis Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont

          ibis Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont

          Rua Marechal Camara 280 Centro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
             
            3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Centro, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of National Library (Biblioteca Nacional) and Museum of Modern Art. Selaron Steps and Arcos da Lapa are also within 1 mi (2 km). Cinelandia Station is 9 minutes by foot and Carioca Station is 13 minutes.

            OYO Hotel LM
            OYO Hotel LM

            OYO Hotel LM

            Av. Salvador, 590, Rio de Janeiro, ES
               
              2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Centro, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Guanabara Bay and Consulate General of the United States Rio de Janeiro. Flamengo Beach and Museum of Tomorrow are also within 2 mi (3 km). Carioca Station is 6 minutes by foot and Cinelandia Station is 8 minutes.

              Hotel Atlantico Tower ¥1,988
              Hotel Atlantico Tower

              Hotel Atlantico Tower

              Rua Visconde de Inhauma, 95, Centro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Centro, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Guanabara Bay and Museum of Tomorrow. Consulate General of the United States Rio de Janeiro and Sambodrome are also within 2 mi (3 km). Uruguaiana Station is 5 minutes by foot and Presidente Vargas Station is 10 minutes.

                Prodigy Santos Dumont ¥4,734
                Prodigy Santos Dumont

                Prodigy Santos Dumont

                Av. Almirante Silvio de Noronha, 365, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
                   
                  3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Centro, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Guanabara Bay and Consulate General of the United States Rio de Janeiro. Flamengo Beach and Museum of Tomorrow are also within 3 mi (5 km). Cinelandia Station is 17 minutes by foot and Carioca Station is 21 minutes.