On September 2, 2018, a massive fire devastated the National Museum of Brazil. Founded 200 years ago, the museum is Brazil's oldest scientific institution and one of the largest and most renowned museums in Latin America, with a collection of 20 million artifacts and specimens. Newspapers around the world have published many articles about this tragic event, and the list of destroyed artifacts is now an almost familiar recitation of mourning: the butterfly and entomology collections, the archives, the Egyptian collection, the mounted dinosaurs, the recording of indigenous voices, the Anthropology Library. Luzia, the oldest human fossil found in the Brazilian territory, is lost. It is a loss not only for Brazilians, but for scientists and scholars around the world
For Brazilian environmental historians, the Museum is a particularly cherished space. It is connected to the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro and generations of Brazilian scientists have graduated there. Many environmental historians have explored the archives of the National Museum, taken classes there, studied the paleontology collections, written theses, articles and books about the artifacts and those who collected the precious artifacts, and about what the Museum meant to national science and to the concept of nature in Brazil.
As Brazil is preparing to host the 3rd World Congress of Environmental History in July 2019, in Florianópolis, this loss is deeply felt. In light of this devastating loss, we ask for help from the international community of environmental historians. If you have researched at the National Museum, if you have images of the collections, the artifacts, or any related documents, please send copies to museunacional.ufrj.br/memoria (it is an institutional link.) If your institution would like to support the National Museum of Brazil in a more concrete way, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Due to these exceptional circumstances, the Organizing Committee of the 3rd World Congress of Environmental History agreed to extend the deadline for proposal submissions until October 1st.
We hope this extension will allow for everyone interested in taking part in proposals for the academic program of this exciting conference.