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Brazil's Museum Fire Is A Global Tragedy
Two hundred years of work - and millions of priceless specimens, have been destroyed in a preventable tragedy (CCSS Level: Grade 9, Words: 314)
Sep 6, 2018 History

This week the National Museum of Brazil, the largest of its kind in Latin America, was consumed by fire, The museum contained over 20 million pieces of history dating back to the Pleistocene. There have been no injuries, but officials suggested as much as 90 percent of the museum's collection was destroyed by the blaze.

The lost items - most of them now destroyed - included sarcophagi from Egypt, frescos from Pompeii, one of the oldest human skeletons found in the Americas, and the largest assemblage of Brazilian archaeological material in the world.

In 1784, a Brazilian boy who was looking for a lost cow found a gigantic meteorite instead. The 11,600-pound rock was so cumbersome to transport that it took people almost a century to get it to the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro, where it has since been on proud display. And having once survived the heat of falling through the atmosphere, the Bendegó meteorite also seems to have been one of the few artefacts to have survived the fire that tore through the museum on Sunday evening

Collectively the individual items formed collections resulting from 200 years of curation, research, and care by people whose work illuminated and preserved Brazil's past. In the wake of the destruction, there is dawning despair about further losses that can't be counted or measured… the loss of knowledge about objects that still hadn't even been explored.

It also means an immeasurable blow to Brazil's cultural memory. "We Brazilians only have 500 years history,"anthropologist Mércio Gomes wrote on Facebook. "Our National Museum was 200 years old, but that's what we had, and that is lost forever."

Although is still unclear what caused the fire, authorities suggested that a paper balloon carrying a small flame may have landed on the museum's roof. It is reported that fire hydrants near the museum were empty, delaying the firefighting efforts.

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any object made by human beings, especially long ago



the gas around the earth or a planet; the mood or feeling of a place



a writer of a book or report



people having the power to control a situation



burn fiercely or brightly



a number of people acting as a group






something really popular amongst a group of people



damaged or broken beyond repair



the action or process of causing so much damage to something that it no longer exists



dropping, going down



light up



lit up or decorated



single, one



hurt or damage to the body



a piece of rock from outer space that hits the Earth



a thing that can be seen and touched    



been around for the longest time



kept going, looked after



looking for knowledge



having an uneven or irregular surface; not smooth or level



live, especially after illness or injury



the wave behind a boat caused by the boat moving through the water