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Ipacom Travel - Travel Services in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  
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Home » Citytours & Maps » Museum Hopping in Rio
Photo by Silviano for All rights reserved | Todos os direitos reservados This photo is digitally watermarked and tracked. Property of One of the world's largest stadiums, Maracanã was built for IV World Cup of Football that happened in Rio in 1950. Brazil unfortunately lost to Uruguay that year, but today it's the only nation in the world to hold 5 titles.

Soccer is the national sport in Brazil, and the stadium is often filled to capacity with more than 90,000 people when there is a major match, and the official record is of 183,341 spectators in 1969. This is where Pelé made his 1,000th goal.

Maracanã is also used for mega-shows every now and then, and artists like Frank Sinatra, Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones have already performed here. Next door to it are Maracanãzinho, a smaller bowl with a capacity of 20,000 and the Olympic Stadium Célio de Barros, often used for international competitions.

You are welcome to watch a match if you come during the season. The best way to make sure you get a good seat is making the arrangements through a travel agency or the concierge of your hotel. In addition to well-located seats the package includes round-trip transportation. As the stadium is in a popular area, away from the South Side, you do may prefer not to go on your own (see safety).

Rio's Museum of Modern Art was founded in 1948 by a group of art enthusiasts headed by Raimundo Castro Maia (see Museu do Açude and Chácara do Céu). In 1958 it was transferred to its permanent headquarters. It is impossible to miss the impressive main building, designed by architect Affonso Reidy. It stands right in the heart of Flamengo Park, surrounded by gardens planned by Brazil's quintessential landscape designer Burle Marx. MAM has a very active role in Rio's cultural scene, and influenced several generations of Brazilian artists.

In 1978 a tragic fire burned most of the its collection, and damaged the structure of the building. A major reconstruction effort put the museum back to its feet, and today the permanent collection has over 2,000 pieces by Brazilian and international artists. A major contribution was the Gilberto Chateubriand collection with over 4,000 pieces. It is also under the care of MAM, and can be seen in the permanent exhibition. An interesting program of art shows and exhibitions keep the museum as an excellent alternative throughout the year. Just to give you an idea, the sculptures by Camille Claudel, in 1998, attracted 120,000 people.

Another major attraction is the film collection (Cinemateca do MAM), one of the best in Latin America with over 12,000 titles including some rarities. There are sessions and festivals open for the general public, with Brazilian and foreign cult movies that are not normally shown in the commercial circuit. Art workshops are held at the Oficina da Gravura. Among the exhibitions planned for this year: Sculpture in MAM's International Collection, with pieces from Rodin to Brancusi (April 30-May 24); From Modernism to Neoconcrete, with top Brazilian artists (May 7-24). Open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 12 noon to 6 p.m. Av. Infante Dom Henrique, 85 - Parque do Flamengo

Located in an impressive French Renaissance style building (1908) across from the Municipal Theater. The permanent collection has over 10,000 paintings and works of art by Brazilian artists from late XVII century to present. There are also international pieces, and the African collection is particularly interesting. In addition to the permanent collection, this museum has been the stage for major exhibitions in Rio lately, including Rodin, Miró and Dali. Open from Tuesdays to Fridays from 12:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and on weekends and holidays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Av. Rio Branco, 199 - Centro

On a landmark house steps away from the street car that takes you to Corcovado (statue of Christ, the Redeemer). This is the biggest museum of naïf art in the world. There are over 8,000 pieces in the permanent collection with artists representing 130 countries. This year's calendar features exhibitions with the themes like "sun and samba", "animals in everyday life", color poems, etc. There are original paintings and other items for sale at the museum store. Open from Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and weekends and holidays from 12 noon to 6 p.m. Rua Cosme Velho, 561 - Cosme Velho

Carmen Miranda is one of Brazil's most famous personalities. Born in Portugal and raised in Brazil, her first hit was the song Pra Você Gostar de Mim, in 1930. She was first seen in her typical baiana costume in the movie Banana Terra, of 1939. Her unique look is still copied every year in the streets of Rio during Carnival. From 1940 to 1953 she starred 14 movies in Hollywood. She is the only Brazilian ever to leave a print of her feet and hands in Hollywood's Walk of Fame. After her death in 1955, her husband donated her fabulous collection of clothing and accessories.

Since 1976 this priceless material can be seen at the Carmen Miranda Museum. It is located in Flamengo Park, not far from the Museum of Modern Art. The collection has over 3,000 pieces including performance and dress clothes, accessories, shoes, photos, decorative objects, trophies, advertising material, caricatures, videos, contracts, scripts and records. There are special exhibitions in February and August. Open from Tuesday to Friday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and on weekends and holidays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Av. Rui Barbosa, across from building number 560 - Flamengo

A museum dedicated to native Brazilians, their art and culture. Pottery, wood, straw and feather are some of the materials used in creative ways by tribes from all parts of Brazil. The museum takes an active role in promoting a better understanding of the Native Brazilian culture. They recently brought a group of natives to build a Uné, a large Indian home, 5 meters tall and 15 meters long. Inside were installed hammocks, cooking pans, flutes and straw skirts so that visitors can learn how natives decorate their homes. There is genuine handicraft for sale in the museum store. Open from Tuesdays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 17:30 p.m. and weekends from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Rua das Palmeiras, 55 - Botafogo

The National Museum was the first scientific institution in Brazil, created by D. João VI in the year of 1818. Today it is part of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. It is located in a landmark building that has served as residence for the Portuguese Royal family and for the Brazilian Imperial family. Dom Pedro II (our last emperor) was born and lived here until he went to France in exile in 1889. The museum was transferred to this palace in 1892. There are six departments, namely: Anthropology, Botany, Geology/Paleontology, Entomology, Invertebrates and Vertebrates. Rio's Zoo and the Fauna Museum are also at Quinta da Boa Vista. Open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Quinta da Boa Vista s/n - São Cristóvão

Once the residence of Raimundo Castro Maya (1894-1968), one of the founders of the Museum of Modern Art. Located in an area of over 150.000 square meters in the heart of bucolic Floresta da Tijuca. It is the perfect way to associate nature and culture! The building was renovated in 1920 to neocolonial style. The permanent exhibition includes a fabulous collection of Portuguese tiles from 17th to 19th centuries, period furniture, silverware and glassware. There is also a collection of Oriental art including sculptures, paintings, engravings and rugs. Brazilian popular art is represented with ceramics by Mestre Vitalino and other Northeastern artists. Open from Thursday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Estrada do Açude, 764 - Alto da Boa Vista

When Rio de Janeiro was the capital of the country, this is was the Brazilian white house (where the presidents worked). When the capital was transferred to Brasilia (see history) the building went through a major renovation. Today it is one of the most interesting museums in Rio, with a cultural project that encompasses exhibitions, music, theater, cinema, video, a bookshop and a restaurant. The first Latin American museum with an automated reference desk, giving access to over 20,000 books, 7,000 assorted items and 80,000 documents. Rua do Catete, 153 - Catete

This museum was another residence of art patron Castro Maya (see Museu do Açude). It is located in Santa Teresa, a historical district near downtown that concentrates a number of artists' studios and galleries. It was renovated in 1954, adapting the building to its site. It offers a 360° view to Rio and scenic Guanabara Bay. The permanent exhibition features Castro Maya's personal collection, including paintings by international artists including Mates, Picasso, Dali, and Miró and Brazilian masters, like Portinari, Di Cavalcanti, Guignard and Iberê Camargo. The Brasiliana collection includes oil paintings, drawings, engravings and watercolors by 19th century artists that came from abroad to paint images of Brazil. Among them are 490 watercolors and 61 drawings by Jean Baptiste Debret. Open every day except Tuesdays, from 12 noon to 5 p.m. Rua Murtinho Nobre, 93 - Santa Teresa

The world headquarters of Brazil's most prestigious jewelers are in Ipanema. Take the workshop tour and watch the intricate steps by which a rough gemstone is transformed into a beautiful jewel. From the lapidary art to the polishing process to jewelry crafting, it is a fascinating process. The museum can be visited on request, and features Mr. Stern's private collection of tourmalines and a variety of gemstones. Ask your concierge or the H. Stern representative in the lobby of your hotel to make the arrangements for you. Workshop tours are free (including transportation from and back to your hotel). Rua Garcia D'Ávila, 113 - Ipanema

Another museum in Ipanema's Diamond Row dedicated to gems. This one has a replica of a mine, and a variety of rough stones and gems in all colors you can imagine. Just one block away from Praça da Paz, the most charming square in the neighborhood. Open from Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Rua Garcia D'Ávila, 105 - Ipanema

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