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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


Map

Best Lodging Options Near National History Museum

See all 1,978 Properties near National History Museum
Hotel Atlantico Business Centro ¥3,399
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 steps from Guanabara Bay and National Library (Biblioteca Nacional). Arcos da Lapa and Catedral de Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro are also within 10 minutes. Cinelandia Station is only a 4-minute walk and Carioca Station is 7 minutes.

    ibis Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont ¥3,801
    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 10-minute walk of Guanabara Bay and National Library (Biblioteca Nacional). Museum of Modern Art and Catedral de Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro are also within 1 mi (2 km). Cinelandia Station is 9 minutes by foot and Carioca Station is 13 minutes.

      Américas Granada Hotel ¥4,452
      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 a 10-minute walk of Arcos da Lapa and Catedral de Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro. National Library (Biblioteca Nacional) and Museum of Modern Art are also within 1 mi (2 km). Carioca Station is 13 minutes by foot and Presidente Vargas Station is 13 minutes.

        Prodigy Santos Dumont ¥6,335
        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 Museum of Modern Art. National Library (Biblioteca Nacional) and Flamengo Beach are also within 2 mi (3 km). Cinelandia Station is 17 minutes by foot and Carioca Station is 21 minutes.

          Hotel Atlântico Prime ¥3,922
          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 Praca da Cruz Vermelha, Arcos da Lapa, and Catedral de Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro. National Library (Biblioteca Nacional) and Museum of Modern Art are also within 1 mi (2 km). Cinelandia Station is 16 minutes by foot and Presidente Vargas Station is 16 minutes.

            Novotel RJ Santos Dumont ¥6,950
            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 Guanabara Bay, National Library (Biblioteca Nacional), and Museum of Modern Art. Catedral de Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro and Arcos da Lapa are also within 1 mi (2 km). Cinelandia Station is 10 minutes by foot and Carioca Station is 13 minutes.

              Casa Nova Hotel ¥3,747
              Casa Nova Hotel

              Casa Nova Hotel

              Rua do Riachuelo,105, Centro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Lapa, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Guanabara Bay, Arcos da Lapa, and Catedral de Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro. National Library (Biblioteca Nacional) and Museum of Modern Art are also within 1 mi (2 km). Cinelandia Station is 14 minutes by foot and Gloria Station is 16 minutes.

                Selina Lapa Rio de Janeiro ¥4,065
                Selina Lapa Rio de Janeiro

                Selina Lapa Rio de Janeiro

                Rua Visc. de Maranguape, 9 - Centro, Rio de Janeiro
                   
                  2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Lapa, this hotel is steps from Guanabara Bay and Arcos da Lapa. Catedral de Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro and National Library (Biblioteca Nacional) are also within 10 minutes. Cinelandia Station is 8 minutes by foot and Gloria Station is 9 minutes.