The cause of the fire, which broke out around 2230 GMT, was not yet known, according to local media.
Television footage showed the building engulfed by a raging blaze that firefighters had not brought under control.
The museum was founded in 1818 by King Joao VI and is among Brazil’s most important, with valuable national treasures inside.
“This is a tragic day for Brazil,” President Michel Temer said in a statement. “Two hundred years of work and research and knowledge are lost.”
“This is a cultural tragedy,” the director of the National History Museum said on Globo TV. DM
In other news...
The South African economy is choking harder than the Proteas. Although to be choking you have to actually be eating and the Proteas seem to be on some sort of juice cleanse-like fast…*
Back to the economy: In the first quarter the GDP dive-bombed by a whopping 3.2%. The sense of futility can paralyse us into inaction and moaning. But it’s times like these that call for effort and action, no matter how small. Yes, South Africa is hurting. Yes the ravaged economy is evident everywhere you look. But you can make a difference, in your own personal way and by supporting independent media like Daily Maverick. We’ve pledged to continue the fight through producing incisive and impactful investigations and analysis, the same way we have done every day for the last decade.
By becoming a Maverick Insider you can help us keep doing what we do, so that you and others who can’t afford it, can keep reading the truth. For whatever amount you choose, you can support DM and it only takes a minute.
*Proteas, you know we love you. We’d just love you more if you won occasionally...
"But still it moves, just the same" ~ Galileo Galilei (after forcibly having recanted his statement on earth revolving around the sun)