Monday, September 3, 2018

Museum Fire

National Museum of Brazil on fire 2018-09-02
Photo by Felipe Milanez on Wikipedia Commons

Sad news in that the 200 year old National Museum of Brazil caught fire on September 2, 2018. The museum has over 20 million items in its archive including geological and fossil specimens. Hopefully, they had some digital records and images of the important items in the collection. This is the reason I am such a big proponent of digitizing collections in case something like this happens. Unfortunately, this museum suffered from funding issues which appears why they did not have a sprinkler system so I am guessing no budget for digital records either.

Indiana University Science Hall erected 1874 burned down 1883

Locally, Indiana lost quite a large collection of books and specimens in an 1883 fire. Indiana University had a 3 story building burn down due to a lightning strike. The building housed 14,000 volumes and 85,000 specimens in Owen Cabinet (named for geologists Richard and David Dale Owen). Learn more about this fire at this link. Oddly, a partial skeleton of a giant ground sloth Megalonyx jeffersonii survived but where it is today is not known (except for four of its bones ended up in the Indiana State Museum). Learn more at this link.

Indiana University Department of Geology Lecture Room circa 1904