Museu da Maré Recognized as a Tourist Attraction by Rio de Janeiro State

MC Koringa

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For the original in Portuguese, published in Jornal Extra, click here.

Visitors and beneficiaries of the activities offered by the Museu da Maré have reason to be more at ease. The deadline for the loan the NGO was due to pay was extended for an extra 90 days. In addition, the museum, launched in 2006, was recognized on Wednesday December 10 as a main tourist attraction by the State of Rio de Janeiro. The title, granted to applause at a meeting with the State’s Tourism Council, made the museum’s entry onto the list of official tourist attractions.

“The recognition of the Museu da Maré as one of the State’s main tourist attractions will make its status equivalent to that of Sugarloaf Mountain or Corcovado and other tourism icons. One of the main outcomes, for example, will be investment towards publicity and support supplied by the state,” said the State Secretary of Tourism Claudio Magnavita.

The real estate company A Cia Libra de Navegação had solicited the seizure of the land on which the museum stands, scheduled for Tuesday December 9. However, due to negotiations intermediated by the state government, the company decided to extend its contract. The Museu da Maré hosts an assortment of activities such as the preservation and propagation of the surrounding communities’ history, in addition to offering workshops and classes for more than 300 children and teenagers.

“We carried out concrete actions to avoid the closing of the museum. On November 25, the government’s official news portal published a resolution that established a group to take care of the issue. The group had 15 days to present their solution. We spoke with the owner of the company and we received today (Tuesday December 9) a letter with the extension. Now we will study available juridical alternatives to maintain this tourist attraction. We have until March 10, 2015 to choose a definitive solution,” said the Secretary of Tourism.

On December 12, the museum received an award from the Brazilian Institute of Architects (IAB) in the category of Personalities of the Year in their 52nd Annual Awards. On December 20 the museum (which is located on Rua Guilherme Maciel, 26, near Passarela 8 on Avenida Brasil) distributed tourism pamphlets about the institution. Sponsored by the State Secretary of Tourism, the pamphlet was distributed during an event that brought together representatives of the sector like the Brazilian Association of Travel Agents (Abav), the Brazilian Association of the Hotel Industry (ABIH) and the Association of Tourism Journalists. During the event Christmas presents were distributed amongst the children and there was a gift raffle.

According to Magnavita, a study conducted by the Getúlio Vargas Foundation shows that tourists who visit favelas are most curious about their history.

“Last year, the Museu da Maré was the most visited during the Global Congress for Museums. All sector businessmen were very interested in learning how a project so rich in a region so poor was implemented,” said the secretary.

There is already a project to install signs with information about the history of the community in the first half of 2015. For the coordinator of the museum, Antônio Carlos Vieira, the measure adopted by the government was a win for the community and for the history of Complexo da Maré.

“I think it was a measure that will give us more possibilities to have an open dialogue. We were working to a very tight deadline and almost had to close the museum. We didn’t have anywhere to go. In the community of Maré there isn’t enough space for what the institution needs. It was there that the Maré occupation nucleus was formed. The museum has come to recover history, and to record the memories of its residents. Instead of feeling embarrassed, the residents feel pride when they learn about their history. It generates a feeling of belonging. It is really good for our youth especially because it ennobles them,” says Vieira.